Opioid Task Force  Hero

Opioid Task Force

End Overdose

Knowing there are no economic, racial or geographic limits to the opioid epidemic, Saint Peter’s University Hospital is combatting this crisis with a multidisciplinary Opioid Task Force that is made up of Saint Peter’s staff, law enforcement, addiction recovery specialists, social agencies, and parents. Led by Linda Carroll, MSN, RN-BC, vice president of Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer, Saint Peter’s members include nurses, care coordination social workers, emergency services and pharmacy staff within the Saint Peter’s Healthcare System who work in partnership with resource-sharing community groups such as the Wellspring Center for Prevention and its Coalition for Healthier Communities; Woodbridge Opioid Overdose Recovery Program, Healthier Middlesex Consortium; and law enforcement, including the Middlesex County Chiefs of Police Association.   

The Woodbridge program provides recovery coaches, men and women who are recovering addicts working to help those suffering from substance abuse. As in other hospitals around the country, recovery coaches visit patients who are in the Saint Peter’s Emergency Department being treated following an overdose. Saint Peter’s is changing pain management protocols to lessen the use of opioids, even after select obstetrical and orthopaedic surgical patients

Other Opioid Task Force achievements include the creation of an education program that has thus far reached more than 8,000 middle and high school students, staff and administrators, who heard from a parent who lost a child to addiction, a police officer on local response to emergency calls involving substance abuse, and a nurse on the physical and social effects of addiction. To accomplish this, Saint Peter’s has partnered with the County Prosecutor and Chiefs of Police from throughout the county, and with 10 different school districts, including the high schools within the Diocese of Metuchen. In addition, Saint Peter’s is currently collaborating with the state’s five Catholic dioceses in the New Jersey Dioceses' Addiction and Recovery Taskforce (DART) program and developing information about resources to be published. Saint Peter’s has also provided panelists and speakers at numerous community events regarding this topic.
Saint Peter’s hosted five community education programs at the New Brunswick hospital centered around opioid addiction. In addition, Saint Peter’s has initiated the only hospital-affiliated support group in Central Jersey specifically for those families who have lost someone to addiction in response to the need expressed from those who attended these programs. Additionally, Task Force members have developed a Behavioral Health Resource and Referral Guide that has been distributed regionally providing information on available addiction and mental health resources in the community and have provided training on utilization to multiple area organizations.
Ongoing efforts include re-supplying all law enforcement agencies that bring individuals that have overdosed to Saint Peter’s ED with Narcan medication (which reverses opioid overdose) and educating area Emergency Medical Services providers about addiction.
Saint Peter's Opiod Task Force
Saint Peter’s Opioid Task Force has received multiple national, regional, and local recognitions for this work and its activities have been featured through multiple media outlets in the tri-state area. Linda Carroll; Marge Drozd, MSN, RN, APRN-BC, director of Community Health Services; and Genevieve Kumapley, PharmD, BCOP, clinical oncology pharmacist, accepted the 2018 Health Trust Social Stewardship Award which recognized the work of the task force in New Jersey.  
The Wellspring Center for Prevention dedicated its 2018 memorial Tree of Hope, a dogwood tree, outside of the Saint Peter’s Emergency Department in recognition of the great strides the task force is making in the fight against opioid addiction.  
The Saint Peter’s Opioid Task Force continues to spread the message of #END OVERDOSE.

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