New Program to Help Addicts

A new community outreach initiative spearheaded by Kraft Center for Community Health at Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital is involved, in a new program to help individuals deal with addiction and other complex health conditions.

In Boston, overdose deaths have almost tripled in the last five years. While life-saving treatments for opioid use disorders are available, only five percent of people living with substance use disorders have access to the treatments they need.

While effective lifesaving treatments are available, there is substantial lack of access to treatment particularly among vulnerable populations. There is also reluctance for many people to use traditional clinics or hospitals due to fear of stigma.

The Kraft Center is working with key community leaders, first responders, and healthcare providers to help develop, plan, and implement a cutting-edge program to address unmet healthcare, mental health, and addiction service needed by individuals in the Boston area.

One program that is being developed is Boston’s CareZone program which was launched January 9, 2018. The program is funded by the Kraft Center for Community Health in collaboration with the GE Foundation, Ford Motor Company, Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP), and the Boston Public Health Commission’s harm reduction and needle exchange site, called AHOPE.

The goal for the CareZone program is to increase access to addiction and healthcare services, and engage individuals in recovery, and then connect individuals with long term community-based care such as a medical home.   

The CareZone program staffed by BHCHP’s medical group and AHOPE’s harm reduction team, will provide on-demand, preventative care such as screenings for TB, cancer, sexually transmitted infections, immunizations, and chronic disease management. The program will also offer low threshold treatments for substance use disorders and will offer an opportunity for individuals to receive overdose prevention and risk reduction counseling.

According to Elsie Taveras, MD Executive Director of the Kraft Center, “We see tremendous value in building engagement and trust, so we are partnering with clinical and public health practitioners to not give up on people and to offer a path to recovery.”

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