NJ initiative offers path out of addiction moments after overdose victim revives

Molly Daly
June 11, 2019 - 4:00 am

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Officials in New Jersey say a federally funded initiative that offers a path to recovery to opioid abusers in the moments after they've been revived from an overdose has connected dozens of Burlington County residents to addiction treatment programs.  
 
Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina says Operation Helping Hand is run by his office with help from City of Angels, a North Jersey-based nonprofit.

Under the plan, a detective and a recovery coach reach out to someone who's overdosed as soon as they're revived. 

"They're not providing therapy, but what they are doing is providing a connection with somebody who has walked in the shoes of that person struggling with addiction, and has come out successfully on the other side," Coffina said. 

He says of the 46 people connected with recovery coaches in May, all but seven were open to getting help.

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"Eleven of those have already gone into treatment, but it's a process. For some people, the brush with death is enough, and that day they're ready to go," he added. 

For others, they're planting a seed.

"It takes a little bit of time for them to realize that they're ready for that treatment."

Coffina says there's no magic formula for recovery, and that it may take time for an addict to admit they need and want help.

"We're going to continue to connect with them, the people who haven't gone into treatment yet, and even the people who have gone into treatment, to follow up to see how we can continue to help them on their path to recovery," he said. 

The grant runs out in August but Coffina says they're already looking for other ways to fund the program.