On June 17, 2015, Governor Baker released the Action Plan to Address the Opioid Epidemic in the Commonwealth. The plan was based on the Recommendations of the Governor’s Opioid Working Group, comprising 18 expert members and chaired by MaryLou Sudders, Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services. The Working Group’s report included over 65 actionable recommendations to address the opioid crisis in Massachusetts.
The Governor’s Action Plan incorporates approximately 40 of the Working Group’s recommendations. In addition to a number of important prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery support action steps, the Plan includes several critical initiatives for people struggling with addiction, including:
- Increasing the number of office-based opioid treatment programs in community health centers. Such programs treat opiate addiction with a medication (such as buprenorphrine or Vivitrol) in a physician’s office.
- Adding 100 new treatment beds by July 2016.
- Expanding access to patient navigators, who can assist individuals by connecting them to resources and helping them understand the service system.
- Creating a “pilot” program to enable individuals to walk into a community-based outpatient setting (e.g., a hospital or community health center) and get access to trained clinicians who can conduct an addiction assessment and directly refer them to appropriate care.
- Creating a pilot program to make recovery coaches available in emergency departments and “hot spots.” Recovery coaches promote addiction recovery by serving as a guide and mentor for people with substance use issues. Recovery coaches can help people determine how to combat their addiction, find substance abuse services, make a plan for their recovery, and/or support them throughout their recovery.
- Integrating medication-assisted treatment into the clinical stabilization services care setting (meaning, making medication-assisted treatment available in programs that bridge detox and longer-term care such as half-way houses).
Read more about the Governor’s Plan and the Working Group’s recommendations at www.mass.gov/stopaddiction.
If you need help finding treatment services like those mentioned above, click here to search the Helpline’s online database, or call the Helpline at 800.327.5050.
Photo courtesy of mass.gov/governor.