Opioid Overdose Recovery Program

Opioid challenges? Mercer OORP is here to help 24x7x365! Call our hotline at (609) 651-1623 to reach our Patient Navigator.

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.

Upon receiving notification through dispatch, the Recovery Specialist will meet the patient at a hospital bedside (or out in the community if they are not hospitalized) to establish a supportive relationship and help motivate them to accept recovery services.

Recovery Specialists are uniquely qualified, as they are in their own process of recovery from substance use disorder and understand firsthand the challenges related to recovery from substance use. The RS will support the patient through the first and most critical 8 weeks of recovery through face-to-face meetings, phone calls and continuous encouragement. More information on how our Recovery Specialists are deployed can be found below.

Our full-time Patient Navigator takes the initial dispatch call, links the RS to the case, and assists in navigating the patient through appropriate treatment, recovery and ancillary services. They also provide case management services in the life domains of housing, finances, healthcare, legal, employment and family needs.

The PN also collaborates with treatment, withdrawal management, MAT, and harm reduction service providers to ensure the best coordination of care for the individual in need; this includes post-acute treatment options such as outpatient programs, MAT, sober housing, transportation, and social services as required.

The OORP Clinical Supervisor is a licensed clinician who oversees the Patient Navigator and RS staff. The supervisor reviews all program data, ensures quality assurance, and demonstrates and imparts knowledge of addiction and recovery to the entire OORP team.

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.