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The Impact of Peer Recovery Coaching in Fighting Opioid Addiction

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 11.5 million Americans abused prescription opioids in 2016 and there were 47,000 overdose deaths involving opioids in 2017. Many with opioid use disorder become addicted through therapeutic opioid use, while others may use non-prescribed opioids recreationally.

Because of our commitment to improving patient safety and the quality of healthcare delivery in the midst of our nation’s opioid epidemic, in 2018, TeamHealth formed the Opioid Work Group to implement strategies to reduce mortality, recognize and treat addiction and appropriately address chronic pain, while effectively managing acute pain.

One of the top achievements of the group is the development of guidelines for the Peer Recovery Coach Program. The Peer Recovery Coach Program provides an innovative option for patients with substance use disorder (SUD) that present to the emergency department (ED).

Currently, eleven percent of hospitals use recovery coaches to assist patients in fighting opioid addiction. Peer Recovery Coaches are unique in the sense that they have a personal lived experience with opioid abuse and are specially trained to assist individuals by removing obstacles and barriers to recovery.

In the video below, TeamHealth’s Dr. Brandt Williamson, Emergency Medicine physician at Berkeley Medical Center in Martinsburg, West Virginia, and a member of the Opioid Work Group discusses the implementation of this innovative program at his facility and the positive impacts it has made in this community.