Peer coaches offer substance use support in the ER

While emergency department staff have the best of intentions when treating people who’ve just overdosed, they sometimes have trouble relating to patients.

“We know that doctors and nurses do great work, and they save people’s lives every day,” says Tonya Wheeler, the executive director of Denver nonprofit Advocates for Recovery. “Oftentimes the missing component is that they have not walked in those shoes. And so because there continues to be a large level of stigma, sometimes patients can be met with judgment.”

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