Narcan is administered by law enforcement, EMTs, community members, and in hospital Emergency Departments to reverse opioids (heroin) overdoses during emergency medical calls. Thousands of lives have been saved by Narcan.
Narcan (Naloxone), an opiate agonist, works by blocking the effects of opioids and reversing an overdose after being administered by injection (arm, thigh or buttocks) or nasal spray.
Narcan has been used more than 18,000 times on NJ overdose victims since 2014, but little support is provided post-treatment. The Center for Alcohol and Drug Resources (TCADR) has launched the Opioid Overdose Recovery Program (OORP) to combat against the opioid epidemic.
The Program employs Recovery Specialists (RS), Patient Navigators and a Supervisor
Recovery Specialists: Upon receiving notification by the dispatch center, the RS will meet the patient at bedside to establish a supportive relationship and help motivate them to accept treatment. Recovery Specialists are uniquely qualified, as they are in their own process of recovery from substance use disorder and understand first hand about addiction and recovery. The Recovery Specialist’s will support the patient though the first critical 8 weeks of recovery by face to face meetings, telephone calls and continuous encouragement and support.
Patient Navigator: The OORP’s full time Clinician fulfills the role as Patient Navigator. They link the patient with appropriate treatment and recovery services. They provide case management services in the life domains of housing, finances, healthcare, legal, employment and family needs. They also collaborate with treatment and detoxification provider to ensure the best coordination of care for the individual in need.
Supervisor: The OORP’s Supervisor is also a Clinician who oversees the Recovery Specialists and the Patient Navigator. The supervisor reviews all data, ensures quality assurance, demonstrates and imparts knowledge of addiction and recovery.
How a Recovery Specialist is activated
All hospitals in Bergen County will be participating in the program in their emergency departments (Bergen Regional Medical Center, Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, Hackensack University Medical Center, Holy Name Medical Center and Valley Hospital), and they will all use the same protocol for treatment.
Hospital staff, EMTs and law enforcement officers will contact a central dispatch center after an individual who overdosed has been revived by Narcan and has been brought to the ED. The central dispatch center will contact the RS.
After obtaining consent from the patient, conversation is initiated by the RS, motivating them to seek treatment, connecting them to resources and providing follow-up support.
The RS will be available for follow-up assistance for at least 8 weeks to help encourage them through the early stages of recovery and moving toward self actualization.
Follow-up family care and support is also offered.