Northeast Georgia Community Connections

CARES in the Emergency Department

In partnership with Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) and Georgia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD), Georgia Council on Substance Abuse (GCSA) has officially begun providing peer support to individuals having experienced an opioid overdose or any substance use disorder related incident in NGMC’s three campus emergency departments in Gainesville, Braselton, and Winder.
This pilot project, NE Georgia Community Connections, places Certified Addiction Recovery Empowerment Specialists (CARES/CPS-AD) in the NGMC emergency departments to provide peer recovery coaching to individuals having experienced opioid overdose or other drug or alcohol related incidents. These CARES have received training tailored specifically to assisting people in an emergency room setting. 

Surviving an overdose can be the first step on a pathway to recovery. People with lived recovery experience are uniquely poised to help survivors walk that recovery path. CARES provide recovery coaching based on the core belief that people want to be heard, not fixed. They support individuals by listening and providing answers to any questions he or she may have about recovery supports or treatment options. The CARES also provide education on overdose prevention, the use of naloxone and information about additional resources. Because substance use disorder typically effects the whole family, CARES also provide recovery support and prevention education to family members. CARES maintain contact with individuals after discharge to continue providing additional recovery support.

Recovery happens in communities where people can access services and supports that help them. The community in Northeast Georgia has amassed an amazing amount of energy and support from those that care about creating an environment where all can live and thrive. We’re excited to be in partnership with the hospital staff, local people in recovery and other allies on such an important endeavor.
Northeast Georgia Community Connections is a collaboration of federal, state and local entities to help stem the increasing tide of deaths by overdoses in Georgia. This collaboration will help create a community that is based on hope, wellness, and the recognition that recovery from substance use disorder is possible for everyone.
CARES in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) 
Pre- and post natal exposure to illicit substances presents several negative consequences for infants, including physical and emotional difficulties. Prenatal exposure due to parental substance use is on the rise in Georgia. Due to various barriers, parents using substances often do not access, engage in, and complete treatment or participate in recovery support services. Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) primarily occurs when a pregnant woman takes drugs such as heroin, codeine, oxycodone, methadone or buprenorphine. The days and weeks following the birth of an infant with NAS are medically risky and present a unique opportunity for engagement in wellness activities such as recovery supports or treatment services.
To better support individuals facing these barriers to recovery, the CARES-NICU coaches engage with parents and families who have an infant admitted to the NICU in order to develop supportive relationships. In partnership with the incredible staff at Northeast Georgia Medical Center, GCSA provides peer recovery coaching to mothers and families who have infants admitted to the NICU at two hospital in NGHS including NGMC’s NICUs located in Gainesville and Braselton. CARES-NICU coaches listen and are present to answer questions parents and families may have about recovery supports or treatment options. CARES-NICU coaches maintain contact with individuals after discharge to continue providing additional recovery support.
To learn more about Northeast Georgia Health System click HERE.
If you are interested in becoming part of the Northeast Georgia Community Connections Team, please visit our job opportunities page for more information by clicking HERE.