New Program Connects Overdose Victims to Recovery Coaches

Four hospitals in Eastern Connecticut will have recovery coaches in Emergency Departments
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                     Connecticut Department of Mental Health
April 26, 2017                                                            and Addiction Services  
                                                                           Contact:  Diana Lejardi    
                                                                           (860) 418-6967  
                                                                           (860) 558-0024 (cell)

New London, CT – At an event this morning at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital, the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) announced its partnership with Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR) and four area hospitals in a new program which sends recovery coaches to Emergency Departments in response to overdoses. The recovery coaches will assist people who are admitted with opioid overdose and other alcohol- or drug-related medical emergencies and connect them to substance use disorder treatment and services in the state.
“Every city and every town across Connecticut has been touched in some way by addiction – and in particular the growing prescription painkiller crisis. This is a complex issue that does not have one root cause, nor does it have a simple solution,” Governor Malloy said. “This initiative is an important step in our efforts to treat and prevent substance use disorders. Our work on this front will not be finished until our communities and our families are no longer struggling with the grave costs of this illness.”
The new program, which launched last month at Manchester Memorial Hospital and last week at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital, Windham Hospital and William Backus Hospital in Norwich, sends recovery coaches to Emergency Departments in these four hospitals in eastern Connecticut. The initiative is funded through DMHAS and is part of the State’s efforts to fight the opioid crisis.
“Addiction impacts many lives each day. We are pleased to launch this pairing of individuals whose addiction has led them to the emergency department with recovery coaches with personal lived experience and training,” said DMHAS Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon. “Addiction professionals with lived experience are able to connect with people living with substance use disorders in a unique way, showing them that recovery is possible. Recovery coaches know the many paths to recovery as well as the challenges that may occur along the way, serving as valuable guides.” 
“An opportunity exists in the Emergency Department for a person to be offered hope, the key ingredient for an individual to transform into a rewarding, fulfilling life in recovery,” said Phil Valentine, Executive Director of CCAR. “Recovery coaches plant seeds of hope and serve as guides along multiple pathways of recovery.”
“This is such an important step,” said Bruce Cummings, President and CEO of Lawrence + Memorial Hospital. “It’s just not acceptable to deal with this crisis as ‘the new norm.’ This initiative provides another resource to not only the impacted individual, but also medical personnel. Bringing that resource directly to the patient may provide the motivation and resources needed to improve their every-day life. There isn’t one person or group who can resolve this issue alone. Ongoing partnership and collaboration are key factors in dealing with this issue that effects so many.”
The program’s model is based on initiatives underway in other New England states where trained recovery coaches have demonstrated effectiveness in linking Emergency Department patients with substance use disorder treatment and community-based recovery resources. The recovery coaches are trained, skilled professionals who will support patients, family members and hospital personnel, providing assistance to help people begin recovery or stabilize recovery when needed. As people with lived addiction recovery experience, the recovery coaches will demonstrate that people can recover, offering guidance and hope to those who are living with substance use disorders.
For more information about this program, contact Jennifer Chadukiewicz, ED Recovery Coach Manager, at 860-244-2227 or
Since 1998 the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR) has organized the recovery community (people in recovery, family members, friends and allies) to put a face on recovery and provide recovery support services to help sustain recovery. By promoting recovery from alcohol and other drug addiction through advocacy, education and service, CCAR strives to end discrimination surrounding addiction and recovery, open new doors and remove barriers to recovery, maintain and sustain recovery regardless of the pathway, all the while ensuring that all people in recovery, and people seeking recovery, are treated with dignity and respect.