Anti-opioids program’s success continues

Two years after being launched, Wicomico County’s Community Outreach Addictions Team, recognized nationally for its design and collaboration, has been pronounced successful.

When COAT began in 2016, there were 264 opioid overdoses treated at the emergency room at Peninsula Regional Medical Center, which collaborated with the team.

In 2017, total opioid overdoses dropped to 192. Through May this year, the numbers dropped even more, with total opioid overdoses treated in the ER at 58 compared to 89 opioid overdoses during the same time last year, according to a joint news release from the health department, Public Health Accreditation Board and PRMC.

The news release tells the story of a woman named Clarie who overdosed on opioids after nearly a year in recovery. Her son found her lying on her mother’s floor and she was rushed by ambulance to PRMC where she “found the hope that she needed to get back on the road to recovery.”

“That hope came from a member of COAT. This member of the team sat with her for hours and helped her get into treatment as soon as possible. Clarie is one of the real-life success stories of the now two-year-old COAT program,” the news release states.

Launched by the Wicomico County Health Department, in partnership with the Wicomico County State’s Attorney’s Office, Wicomico County Government, Salisbury City Government, Wicomico County Sheriff’s Department and community partners including PRMC, COAT’s mission is to combat overdoses and provide treatment for recovery.

The program has been recognized nationally for its design and scope of collaboration.

“Not only did COAT respond at the time of my overdose, they kept up with me for several months through phone calls, which really meant so much,” Clarie states in the news release.

“It really helped keep me going. I have such a respect for those who have been through hell, and choose to give back,” she said.

She has completed treatment, is working full time, received her high school diploma and is enrolled in Wor-Wic Community College’s Chemical Dependency Counseling Program.

Her goal is to work as a peer recovery specialist.

“The COAT program is truly an asset in helping combat the opioid crisis here in Wicomico County,” said Lori Brewster, Wicomico County Health Officer.

“The program is designed to help bridge the gap between active addiction and treatment and break down barriers that may exist for those battling the disease. Our peers have seen similar struggles, and have experienced the difficulties of battling addiction. They are meeting individuals where they are, in hopes the lives of the individuals they have come in contact with can be improved and not lost,” Brewster said.

Reach COAT at 443-783-6875.


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