(WTNH) — Time is critical when life dangles. It’s a foggy reality for people caught in the opioid crisis.

Substance abusers eventually make their way to emergency departments of hospitals like Saint Francis.  

“The Suboxone gives us a chance to start somebody who fits the criteria and so we can start that in the ED,” said Dr. Steven Wolf. “The problems with ER’s is that we are all limited with what we can do for treatment, for substance treatment in the ER.”  

While the lifeline is cast, Michael Serrano is on standby for the warm handoff.

“We want to have a connection made with a coach so a patient understands the importance of treatment,” said Dr. Wolf. “They’ve just been revived and normally we would take more time in the medical things but as soon as they are coherent, we try to get our coaches in.”  

Serrano is a recovery coach trained by the Connecticut Community For Addiction Recovery, CCAR.

Related: Saint Francis offers one-on-one coaching to help people start recovering from addiction

“I was using prescription pills, abusing them and alcohol, both were my addictions,” Serrano said.

He added, “I’ve seen a lot of people where they’re covered and their faces are covered in the sheets and as soon as I tell them that I’m a recovery, they take their sheets off and they want to see who I am.  Most likely they want to see what recovery looks like.”

“I always tell people to ask themselves three questions.  How is this working for you? Is change possible? And are you worth the change? I’m not asking the questions.  I’m asking them to ask themselves,” Serrano said.

Not everyone listens.

Serrano said, “I’m open minded to the outcome but I can’t get attached to the outcome because if I get attached to someone’s outcome, the next person that I’m going to see in a room, I’m not going to give him 100 percent.”

Getting back to living life comes from within.

“It doesn’t matter what it is you connect with as long as you connect to something, you have a fighting chance,” Serrano said.

Dr. Wolf said, “We have this moment that we can connect with the patient but we don’t have the ability to keep on connecting with the patient and so this gives us that opportunity…and save lives.”

“I wish I had a coach because for two years of my life, I isolated myself and it wasn’t fun, staying away from people and not living life,” Serrano said. “Living life but not leading my life and I needed to lead my life.”

Michael Serrano just celebrated five years of recovery last month.
CCAR now has five recovery community centers in Connecticut.