Boston Medical Center Offers Even More Help to Addicts
One of the biggest problems getting opioid addicts off opioids – which includes heroin, morphine, fentanyl, carfentanyl, prescription painkillers under many different names, and more – is that they have to wait for treatment. If addicts don’t get help when they ask for it, they could well be on a slab in the morgue the next time you see them. In Boston, that happens to over 1,500 people a year. To help change that, the Boston Medical Center (BMC) area will soon be opening a new opiod urgent care center.
To help pull this off, the hospital is getting grants from Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Boston Public Health Commission totaling $2.9 million over the next a year over the next four year.
The new program, known as Faster Paths, will add to the already impressive list of services BMC has for addicts. Patients are already screened for addiction as soon as they enter the hospital so they can be offered services that might help them quit. Faster Paths will offer even more. It is staffed by addiction nurses and physicians as well as Master’s level addiction counselors who can help get addicts into treatment and give them emergency naloxone kits in case of overdoses, as well as administering buprenorphine or suboxone and other stabilization services. The counselors are also licensed to offer vivitrol treatment to combat opioid dependence.
Boston Medical Center is the busiest trauma and emergency center in New England and, being right in the middle of Methadone Mile – an area loaded with addicts and recovering addicts, recovery facilities, methadone clinics, needle exchanges, people shooting up in alleys and dealers who follow recovering addicts along the street trying to get them back on drugs as they make their way to methadone clinics or their workplace – is very well experienced in helping people in trouble.
The hospital not only helps addicts, according to a documentary on the hospital it also offers a number of unique services:
- The Preventive Food Pantry – doctors can write prescription for food for patients who are undernourished
- Home visits – how’s that for unusual? You can count the number of private practice doctors who do that on one hand, nevermind hospitals. The hospital visits make sure the patients and their families are following the hospital’s instructions. They also see if there are conditions in the home that can lead to medical problems. Just like House.
- They have lawyers on the hospital staff to help patients figure out government insurance programs – I’ve known people who don’t get medical treatment because they can’t afford it but they have no idea that they could actually get it paid for, and they are entitled to it. The lawyers also deal with landlords who don’t maintain their properties so they are a healthy place to live.
- Training for first responders dealing with children who have witnessed violence – not uncommon in an environment where there are a lot of addicts.
- Pediatricians giving books to families with children to promote reading. Hopefully, that will help change the future for those kids, and their families.
And many more.
I told a friend about this hospital. He remarked that we need about five of them in every city. I agree.
If you need help with drugs, Boston Medical Center’s new Faster Paths program is one resource. You can also give us a call anytime to find out about other centers where you can get help.