Governor Chris Christie visits Monmouth Medical Center to discuss the Barnabas
Health Opioid Overdose Recovery Program
NJTV News Video
Highlighting the importance of increased intervention options to help overdose
victims get the treatment needed for a path to recovery, Governor Chris
Christie visited with recovery coaches and consumers of the Barnabas Health
Opioid Overdose Recovery Program in Monmouth and Ocean County. The initiative
is a direct result of the work of the Governor’s Facing Addiction
Task Force, which identified this critical period following an overdose
as a missed opportunity to intervene and provide treatment and assistance
to individuals who suffer a drug overdose.
“We have saved thousands of lives with naloxone,” said Governor
Christie. “However, as the people I just met with stressed, reversal
of an overdose alone does not mean recovery. Many patients who walk out
of the ER after reversal often use again within hours or even minutes
after being discharged. That’s why it’s important that we
not miss opportunities to get people into treatment, and that’s
what this program is doing to save lives.”
The Barnabas Health Opioid Overdose Recovery Program is funded through
the Department of Human Services’ Division of Mental Health and
Addiction Services (DMHAS), the Department of Children and Families (DCF),
and the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (GCADA).
The initiative is administered by the Barnabas Health Institute for Prevention
in Monmouth and Ocean Counties, utilizes Recovery Coaches and Patient
Navigators, many of whom are in long-term addiction recovery, to engage
individuals reversed from an opioid overdose, providing non-clinical assistance,
recovery support, appropriate referrals for assessment and treatment,
and recovery follow-up.
DMHAS, GCADA and DCF are providing total annualized funding of $1,023,000
for services to be provided over two years in four hard hit areas. Contracts
in the amount of $255,750 each were awarded in Camden, Essex, Monmouth,
Ocean, and Passaic Counties to Center for Family Services, Turning Point,
Barnabas Health Institute for Prevention, and Eva’s Village, respectively.
With the expansion in December into Eva’s Village in Passaic, the
Governor has committed a total of $1.3 million to the program.
“The goal of the Barnabas Health Opioid Overdose Recovery Program
is to get individuals who were reversed from an opioid overdose into detox
so they can begin a process of recovery through an established support
system,” says Connie Greene, Vice President of the Barnabas Health
Institute for Prevention. “Our Recovery Coaches and Patient Navigator
work with each individual to develop a life plan to help get them the
treatment they need, while addressing their fundamental needs. It’s
important for these patients to know they’re not alone. We hold
their hand during and after treatment. We understand that treatment and
recovery are two different things and we offer support to help patients
and their families get through this journey.”
Governor Christie’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget includes an allocation
of $1.7 million to expand the program into six more counties, for a total
of 11 counties and $3 million. Each county program is expected to serve
300 people annually. Although the program is in its early stages, more
than 75 people whose overdose was reversed have already received the specialists’ services.
“Just because you’re lucky enough that someone around you had
naloxone and saved your life doesn’t mean you automatically have
the tools and support to keep yourself alive and get out of heroin’s
grip,” Department of Human Services Acting Commissioner Elizabeth
Connolly said, applauding the governor for his continued commitment to
fighting drug addiction. “This program provides immediate intervention
as well as people to guide you on your road to recovery.”
The Recovery Coaches and Patient Navigators also will maintain regular
follow-up with these individuals and also are often on call for them.
Recovery Coaches are defined as individuals who have a minimum of two years
of experience in the guiding principles of recovery, and Patient Navigators
as individuals who have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in the
behavioral health profession plus a minimum of three years’ experience
working with individuals with a substance use and mental health disorder.