Health, News

Medford coaches addicts toward new lives

Medford Mayor Stephanie M. Burke’s city budget proposal submitted to the City Council includes money to pay for a recovery coach to help battle opioid addiction in the city.

Burke’s office in a statement on the city website announced Paul Spencer will serve as recovery coach working within the city Health Department.  

“The city is extremely fortunate to have Paul as a trained interventionist, and soon to be certified addiction recovery coach who has extensive experience working with families, and persons affected by or involved with substance abuse disorders,” the website statement quoted Burke as saying.

Spencer’s job description includes helping “to alleviate any personal and environmental obstacles throughout the process and he will link the newly recovering person to the recovering community.”

“The Office of Prevention and Outreach continues to make strides in areas such as substance abuse prevention, spreading awareness of addiction and further developing prevention resources. This position will provide a personal resource for those on the path toward recovery and I couldn’t’ be happier to have Paul in this role,” Burke stated.

Spencer, quoted in the website statement, said, “I’m happy that I have the opportunity and ability to help the people of Medford.”

Medford joins Malden in fighting the opioid crisis by supplementing other addiction treatment services with recovery coaches.

Malden-based Malden Overcoming Addiction (MOA) hosted a four-day, eight-hours-day recovery coach training session in June to produce 28 coaches. The graduates included Malden, Everett and Medford residents.

Coaches are trained in how to assist addicts with techniques such as motivational interviewing and wellness plans. The coaching training includes setting ethical boundaries. MOA trained an initial class of 24 recovery coaches in March.  

The Medford city website statement said Spencer “brings recovery coaching experience based on training and personal knowledge which allows him to engage, educate, and support those recovering from substance use disorders.”  

“Paul is tremendously supportive to people in need of treatment and recovery as well as our office and local partners. He brings both his training and his own experience with recovery in all that he does. It opens up many avenues to helping and supporting people in Medford who are dealing with their own or their loved one’s addiction,” said Penelope Funaiole, city Prevention and Outreach manager.

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