Seven months have passed since Copley Hospital and North Central Vermont Recovery Center began working together to bring peer recovery coaches into Copley’s emergency department.

The program reached an important milestone last month: Its 100th referral call.

During each of the last two months, recovery coaches were called to the Copley emergency department 22 times, pointing not only to the critical need for support for people with substance use disorders, but also to the strong potential for this program — and similar initiatives across the state — to make a lasting, positive difference in communities that struggle with substance use, especially in the midst of Vermont’s well-publicized challenges addressing opioid abuse.

“For the professionals who work in emergency services, your first responders and emergency department teams, treating individuals who have overdosed is an unfortunate but very real part of the work we do,” said Michael Brigati, director of emergency services at Copley Hospital. “I am glad to have this partnership with North Central Vermont Recovery Center. We see the difference it is making on a daily basis. The coaches and the naloxone distribution, education and other harm reduction initiatives we now have in place are saving lives.”

“At least four people that we know of have been saved over the last few months, thanks to the Narcan that we have been able to distribute in part thanks to our relationship with Copley,” said Daniel Franklin, executive director of North Central Vermont Recovery Center.

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