By Bill Shields

BOSTON (CBS) – The state’s hospitals are being inundated with cases of opiate overdoses. Emergency room visits have almost doubled in the past few years.

But now, there’s a new weapon: Recovery Coaches. As soon as the patient has been stabilized, the “coach” is there to guide them to treatment.

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“They can see that they have somebody in their corner to help not only them, but the family unit, then I’ve done my job,” says recovery coach Patrick Kent.

“It’s a proven fact, that if someone overdoses or nearly overdoses, when they’re at the hospital much more open to having some kind of treatment,” says Marshfield Rep. Jim Cantwell, who helped push a bill on Beacon Hill that created the pilot program.

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Right now, only South Shore Hospital and Tobey Hospital in Wareham will have the Recovery Coaches.

“I will call that patient the next day, and the following day,” Kent says. “To let them know there are treatment options for them.”

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In the several hours that WBZ was filming in the South Shore Hospital ER, two overdose cases came in.

Bill Shields