As concerns and discussions around the growing opioid epidemic throughout the Commonwealth and the nation continue, the Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP)recently heard a guest presentation from staff with Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP) to discuss their newest program, SPOT (Supportive Place for Observation and Treatment). With opioids being implicated in 81% of deaths of homeless men and women, SPOT’s primary goal is to reduce harm associated with opioid use, and ultimately help vulnerable populations gain access to treatment for substance use disorders or detoxification. PILPers heard from Cheryl Kane, R.N., and Catherine Minahan, Corporate Relations Manager, who provided information on the severity of the increase in the city’s opioid overdoses, which are magnified among people experiencing homelessness. Kane has been with BHCHP for nearly 20 years, and explained the positive impact that SPOT has had since it was opened in April 2016, as well as the permitting, regulatory and public opinion hurdles that arose in creating the program. In a little over a year, the SPOT program cared for nearly 500 individuals in over 3,800 encounters.
You can read more about the work of the SPOT program here.