Mercer Council’s OORP is working to reduce the number of opiate overdoses in Mercer County by assisting in ending the revolving door of opiate use and misuse.
About Opioid Overdose Recovery
Historically, overdose survivors have been caught in a vicious cycle of substance use, in and out of emergency departments after being given Naloxone/Narcan (an opioid agonist that reverses opioid overdose) without being connected to critical resources that can lead them to recovery. For those who have not overdosed, but are bewildered and paralyzed by the daunting task of navigating the Substance Use Disorder treatment ecosystem, the problem is identical.
Our goal in the OORP is to be the critical connection between individuals seeking help with opioids and appropriate recovery options, including withdrawal management, treatment, medically assisted treatment (MAT), and ongoing recovery support.
In addition, we seek to meet individuals where they are and connect them to various ancillary services that will help them reach both their recovery goals and their goals in various additional life areas (i.e. shelter, social services, obtaining ID, other material resources, etc.).
How OORP Operates
The Program employs Recover Specialists (RS), Patient Navigators, and a Clinical Supervisor.
How a Recovery Specialist is Deployed
All hospitals in Mercer County participate in the OORP program through their emergency departments, crisis units, or general hospital social work functions, and all use the same protocol for treatment. These hospitals are RWJ University Hospital Hamilton, Capital Health Regional in Trenton, Capital Health Hopewell, and Capital Health East Trenton (formerly St. Francis Medical Center).
- Hospital staff typically contact a central dispatch OORP phone number for the Patient Navigator when an individual presents and has experienced opioid overdose or other opioid-related challenges.
- The Patient Navigator contacts the Recover Specialist that is on call.
- After obtaining consent from the individual, a conversation is initiated by the Recovery Specialist, motivating them to seek treatment, connecting them to resources, and providing follow-up support.
- Once assigned to a client, the Recovery Specialist will be available for follow-up assistance for a minimum of 8 weeks to help encourage them through the early stages of recovery and moving toward self-actualization.
- The Patient Navigator typically extends the RS follow-up period to between 3 and 6 months from the initial bedside, to monitor the case holistically and completely.
- Ongoing follow-ups, including family care and recovery support, are also offered.
Prior to COVID-19, all bedsides were conducted in person; throughout the course of the pandemic, bedsides continued through the use of remote telehealth “bedside” interventions. COVID discouraged many potential clients from seeking help at hospitals, so the OORP program has forged closer ties to non-hospital facilities (local shelters, outpatient MAT and harm reduction providers) to ensure we have the broadest possible reach for potential OORP clients.