September 11, 2018
Jennifer Miller, 608-266-1683
Elizabeth Goodsitt, 608-266-1683

#HopeActLiveWI: Program Guides Opioid Overdose Survivors to Health and Healing

ED2Recovery starts in the emergency room, continues after hospital stay

A program that helps opioid overdose survivors avoid another overdose and encourages them to stay engaged in treatment has expanded to cover 22 hospital emergency departments through a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS). ED2Recovery is managed by Wisconsin Voices for Recovery.

“ED2Recovery helps opioid overdose survivors understand that addiction is a health condition that can be treated,” says DHS Director of Opioid Initiatives Paul Krupski. “The hours after an opioid overdose present an opportunity to intervene with the individual to help them realize the promise of recovery. This program is one part of a comprehensive effort to reduce the number of opioid overdoses in Wisconsin and provide care and support to individuals, families, and communities impacted by the state’s opioid crisis.”

ED2Recovery connects people taken to an emergency department for an opioid overdose with program staff living in recovery from opioid addiction trained to offer support. Program staff are known as peer specialists or recovery coaches. Hospital staff contact ED2Recovery staff when they have a candidate for the program. ED2Recovery staff introduce the opioid overdose survivor to resources designed to help the person find a path to wellness prior to their release from the hospital. Staff regularly check on the person after they leave the hospital to support them reaching their goals.

“The life experience of the peer specialist or recovery coach helps them build bridges and inspire hope among opioid overdose survivors,” says Wisconsin Voices for Recovery Program Coordinator Jessica Geschke. “The focus is on success in making choices that support physical and emotional well-being, including completing treatment, having a stable and safe place to live, conducting meaningful daily activities in the community, and building relationships that provide friendship and love. Success is measured by whether the connections offered through the program are improving the participant’s quality of life. There may be setbacks. That’s part of the recovery journey. The number one goal of the program is changing lives for the better. ”

Wisconsin Voices for Recovery contracts with 12 organizations to provide ED2Recovery services. The program employs 130 staff.

ED2Recovery Provider Partner Hospital(s)
Aspirus Riverview Hospital Aspirus Riverview Hospital (Wisconsin Rapids)
Community Awareness and Recovery Environment (CARE) for Dodge County Beaver Dam Community Hospital
St. Agnes Hospital (Fond du Lac)
Waupun Memorial Hospital
Coulee Council on Addictions Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center (La Crosse)
Mayo Clinic Health System – Franciscan Healthcare (La Crosse)
DarJune Foundation Bellin Hospital (Green Bay)
Dave Gallup Foundation Fort Memorial Hospital (Fort Atkinson)
Elevate St. Joseph’s Hospital (West Bend)
Just Listen Aurora Medical Center in Grafton
Aurora Medical Center in Summit
Aurora Medical Center in Washington County (Hartford)
New Horizons North Memorial Medical Center (Ashland)
Rock Valley Community Programs Mercyhealth Hospital (Janesville)
Safe Communities Madison and Dane County SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital
SALS Recovery Center Ascension SE Wisconsin Hospital - Franklin Campus
Wheaton Franciscan – St. Francis Hospital (Milwaukee)
Wheaton Franciscan – St. Joseph Campus (Milwaukee)
Wisconsin Recovery Community Organization (WIRCO) Aurora Medical Center in Manitowoc County (Two Rivers)
Aurora Sheboygan Memorial Medical Center
Holy Family Memorial (Manitowoc)
HSHS St. Nicholas Hospital (Sheboygan)


Since October 2017, 217 people have agreed to participate in ED2Recovery. Staff have spent nearly 1,400 hours working with these participants. Staff also have made 1,700 contacts—in-person meetings, phone calls, text messages, and social media messages—with potential participants to remind them that someone is willing to help them be successful in their recovery journey.

ED2Recovery is one of several projects supported by Wisconsin’s State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grant Program, a two-year DHS initiative that started last year funded by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. DHS is expected to receive a new federal grant this fall that will provide ongoing support for ED2Recovery.

Governor Scott Walker has proclaimed the month of September as Recovery Month in Wisconsin. Wisconsin Voices for Recovery is hosting a celebration this month recognizing individuals living in recovery and the professionals who help people achieve wellness. The Rally for Recovery is September 22, 2018, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the state Capitol. DHS is a sponsor of this event.