Overdose: A Leading Cause of Death
According to a study by BHCHP and Massachusetts General Hospital published in 2013, drug overdose has replaced HIV as the major cause of death among the homeless population. Dr. Travis Baggett and colleagues found that opioid overdose accounted for over 80% of overdose deaths. This reality prompted BHCHP to establish and expand program-wide interventions to better serve homeless individuals with substance use disorders.
Office-Based Opiate Treatment
BHCHP launched its opioid treatment program at our largest outpatient clinic located at Jean Yawkey Place in 2008. We expanded this service to our clinic at St. Francis House in 2013 and to Casa Esperanza in 2015. Specialists work with addicted patients using a combination of Suboxone treatment, counseling, and case management.
Even for those using large doses of highly addictive drugs like heroin and oxycodone, Suboxone treatment can offer rapid, pain-free withdrawal in an outpatient setting — at a cost much lower than traditional hospital inpatient programs.
The Addiction Collaborative and Expedited Support Services (ACCESS) team follows a chronic disease management approach, using BHCHP's multidisciplinary, patient-centered model. With recovery as the ultimate goal, the team focuses on harm reduction strategies and draws on motivational approaches to promote self-driven care.
The ACCESS team serves patients who are at highest risk for overdose death— those who have had an unintentional drug overdose within the last 12 months. Services include:
- Expedited access to primary medical care
- Suboxone therapy
- Behavioral health care
- Weekly substance abuse groups
Our intensive case management services include accompaniment, home visits, assistance with detox and transitional programs, naloxone education, harm reduction and overdose prevention counseling.
Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is a safe and effective prescription medication that reverses opioid overdose. BHCHP provides prescriptions for Naloxone and educates patients on how to use the medication.
In October 2012, BHCHP began offering addiction support groups, first at the Barbara McInnis House, our 104-bed respite program, and then at our outpatient clinic at Jean Yawkey Place. Facilitated by social workers skilled in addiction counseling, these groups are held daily and are well attended by patients in both settings.