A couple of weeks ago, I read a piece by Michele Munz in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about Kael Maness, one of several recovery coaches working with addicts who overdose on opioids and end up in hospital emergency rooms.

I contacted Kael and asked him to come in to talk about his work, which is so effective because he speaks the same language as the addicts he helps — he’s been in their shoes, addicted to pretty much anything you could name over the course of more than a dozen years. He’s been sober for three years, and now works with Project EPICC (Engaging Patients In Care Coordination) through the Behavioral Health Network of Greater St. Louis.

Kael was very open about the road he’d been down with alcoholism and drug addiction, and offered some tough love suggestions for parents who have children — of any age — who have followed the same path (“if you baby your kid, you’ll bury your kid”). With opioids killing more Americans last year than died in the Vietnam War, the efforts of Kael and other recovery coaches are part of the solution.

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