East Bridgewater–Spanning 4 days beginning last Thursday, with each day spent in an East Bridgewater town hall conference room converted to a classroom, 13 area community members gave up their own time to complete an intense 32 hour Recovery Coach Academy training coordinated by local EB HOPE Executive Board Member and Recovery Angel Team Leader, Shawn Salisbury.
Shawn, himself a certified Recovery Coach and state certified Recovery Coach Supervisor, setup the Recovery Coach training in collaboration with class facilitator Ginger Ross, a native from New Hampshire and the founder of the NH Recovery Coach Academy. The 13 students completed the intense, rewarding training Tuesday afternoon, receiving their certificates alongside the encouragement of a team of local police officers who participate with local substance use disorder outreach programs including EB HOPE, Plymouth Project Outreach, the Brockton Champion Plan, Scituate Peer Recovery and Plymouth County Outreach.
Ginger and Shawn received their initial training through the CCAR model (Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery). Ginger was trained by Jim Wuelfing, the developer of the CCAR model. Ginger sits on the New Hampshire Governor’s Recovery Task Force.
Shawn now works for several area hospitals as a recovery coach, while also volunteering his services to EB HOPE and the Plymouth County Outreach model, which encompasses all 26 Plymouth County towns, the city of Brockton, Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz’ Office and the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department, which proactively assists those suffering from substance use disorders while also assisting the family members and loved ones of those suffering. The entire county collaboration is the first formally organized collaboration of this type in the region.
A Recovery Coach is peer based recovery support (PBRS) model that, in recent years, has grown exponentially across the United States, and has shown evidence of positive outcomes as an adjunct to addiction treatment for those in or seeking recovery. A Recovery Coach can provide a wide variety of support services from initial outreach and engagement to long-term personal/family recovery support and doing so within a growing variety of service settings, including recovery community organizations, harm reduction programs, addiction treatment programs, primary health care facilities, the criminal justice system, and the child welfare system.
A significant key to the Plymouth County Outreach model, besides the county-wide collaboration, is the partnership in helping others that exists between local police officers and the recovery community. The Plymouth County model includes a key emphasis on teams of police officers working in partnership with recovery coaches and individuals from the recovery community, to help those suffering from substance use disorders.
At the conclusion of Tuesday’s 4th day of training, an emotional recognition ceremony took place with officers and members of the recovery community praising and thanking one another for their collaborative commitment to partnering with one another. What was once unimaginable, police officers teaming with up and partnering with individuals in the recovery community, some of whom had previously dealt with law enforcement in a negative setting, are now helping people daily in Plymouth County, collectively combatting the current Opioid epidemic.
These new Recovery Coaches, with continued training and mentoring, will become part of and be able to assist the Plymouth County Outreach network, visiting local people suffering from substance use disorders or help those who have recently overdosed, offering them treatment and recovery resources all while traveling alongside local, plainclothes Plymouth County Police officers.
This week’s training also included a special guest instructor on Monday, Julia Ojeda, the Recovery Support Services Statewide Coordinator for the Department of Public Health’s (DPH) Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (BSAS). Ms. Ojeda oversees the state’s Recovery Coach Academies, training and supervision of Recovery Coaches.
The Plymouth County Outreach model continues to add partners and expand its resources, with several upcoming events approaching, including a recently announced partnership with the Brockton Champion Plan and the Brockton Rox Baseball team, hosting a Night Out For Recovery on July 31st. http://opioidoverdoseprevention.org/bmoocp/my-calendar/?cid=my-calendar&mc_id=366