The City of South Bend is partnering with Oaklawn Psychiatric Center, Beacon Health System, and the Michiana Opioid Task Force to deploy peer addiction recovery coaches in the Memorial Hospital of South Bend ER and other sites across the community.
Led by the Michiana Opioid Task Force, the Crisis to 90 Days Recovery Coach Program is partially supported by funding from the 21st Century Cures Act. Trained and certified recovery coaches provide non-clinical support to those in recovery from substance abuse, linking individuals to treatment, housing, and social service resources while providing a lifeline of emotional and logistical support. The City of South Bend is providing financial support for the costs of recovery coach certification, as well as some associated training fees, for a total of $25,000. The funding was approved at the Board of Public Works meeting on November 13.
To mark the partnership, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and representatives from Beacon Health and Oaklawn will hold a press conference in the lobby of Memorial Hospital of South Bend on Wednesday, November 14 at 9:45 a.m.
“Opioid addiction has overtaken vehicle accidents and homicides as a leading cause of preventable death in our community, and the City is proud to partner with Oaklawn, the Michiana Opioid Task Force, and Beacon Health System in providing a lifeline to those most in need,” said Mayor Buttigieg.
Todd Whitmore, a recovery coach and consultant on the grant, commented, “Emergency rooms offer a key setting within which to reach out to persons with opioid use disorder. It is an indication of the advances that South Bend has made in its response to the epidemic that the City, Oaklawn, Beacon, and the Task Force are collaborating in this way.”
As part of the Crisis to 90 Days Recovery Coach Program, Oaklawn Psychiatric Center employs recovery coaches who take on-call shifts for the Memorial ER, and work to coordinate treatment resources with medical addictions care providers at the hospital. Program organizers are in conversation with other community partners to place coaches in additional sites. Preliminary results from the Memorial Hospital ER, where coaches are already helping 27 people encountered through the Emergency Room program, are positive.
“Being able to link a patient in the Memorial ER to a Peer Recovery Coach who has been trained to walk side-by-side with them through the critical early weeks of recovery, increases success greatly,” said Dr. Jason E. Marker, Beacon E. Blair Warner Family Medicine Center clinic director and Memorial Hospital Family Medicine Residency Training Program associate director. Dr. Marker also serves on the Michiana Opioid Task Force.
As Indiana and the country continue to battle an opioid and drug epidemic, peer recovery coaches help reduce strain on an over-burdened treatment system. A preliminary report released in August 2018 from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that 1,840 people died of an overdose in Indiana in 2017, a record high for the state. This figure is an 18% increase from 2016, which puts Indiana among the states with the biggest spike in drug overdose deaths year-over-year.
The City of South Bend’s partnership in the recovery coach program is part of a broader effort to battle the opioid and drug epidemic in the community. In 2017, the City’s EMS personnel delivered nearly 500 doses of NARCAN, twice the number of doses delivered the previous year; the City has also assisted the 525 Foundation with the installation of pill drops at Martin’s Super Markets locations in South Bend.
For more information, contact Michelle Pyburn, Recovery Coach Coordinator, Oaklawn at Michelle.Pyburn@oaklawn.org.
Who: Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Oaklawn Director of Addictions John Horsley, Beacon Health System/Michigan Opioid Task Force Member Dr. Jason Marker
What: Recovery coach program partnership
When: Wednesday, November 14 at 9:45 a.m.
Where: Memorial Hospital lobby, 615 N Michigan St.
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