Woodbridge Township this year has waged a war against the Opioid/Heroin epidemic in hopes of saving lives within ours and neighboring communities. A new program called WOORP (Woodbridge Opioid Overdose Recovery Program) is getting positive results.
The WOORP provides recovery coaches to individuals who have just survived an overdose/Narcan reversal. Immediately after an overdose patient is saved by Narcan, a coach is dispatched by police to meet the patient at the hospital. The goal is to get the patient into treatment and then follow up with that patient for at least 8 weeks. If the patient is not willing to seek treatment at that time, the coach still follows up for a period of 8 weeks, with the hope of eventually encouraging the patient to seek treatment and then finding placement at the appropriate level of care. If the recovery coach gets permission from the patient to engage, 50-70% of patients agree to treatment and receive placement at an appropriate facility. Prior to this program, people who experienced a Narcan reversal almost never received treatment afterward.
Our program has gone live in Old Bridge, South Amboy, Sayreville, and Woodbridge. We are currently awaiting Edison, Carteret and Perth Amboy “go live dates”. The programs are in Raritan Bay Medical Center Perth Amboy, Raritan Bay Medical Center Old Bridge, JFK Hospital, RWJ Rahway, and most recently, St. Peter’s Medical Center in New Brunswick.
After treatment, Woodbridge Township offers support to these individuals and their families. For individuals who are currently in recovery, the Sycamore Senior Center in Port Reading serves as a substance-free relaxation center on Wednesday nights. Recoverees have access to television during sport games, ping-pong, the pool table and refreshments in a safe environment. In the next month, we are anticipating expanding this program to 3 nights a week, including Sunday nights for the football season, so that individuals in recovery are not tempted to go to a bar or other environment where substances would be present.
Every other Tuesday, a parent support group meets at the Public Health department building from 7-8pm. This time allows for parents to talk about current issues in their lives and discuss proactive ways in which they are coping with any struggles. This group is open to parents who have lost a child to a Substance Use Disorder, those who have a child in recovery, or parents who have a child currently facing addiction.
Our first Narcan training was almost completely full, so we will be hosting another Narcan training in late September/early October, which will allow for the first 30 participants to receive a free training and free Narcan kit. All are welcome. People with a family member struggling with opioid addiction are strongly encouraged to attend. This training is offered through a grant that is provided to Jersey Shore Addiction Services. See the Woodbridge Township Addiction Services website for details.
All of these proactive steps Woodbridge Township is taking are essential to saving the lives of our residents who struggle with substance use disorders.
For more information on any of these programs please call Bonnie Nolan PhD, Addiction Services Coordinator for Woodbridge Township Department of Health & Human Services @ 732.855.0600 ext. 5008. All calls are confidential.