Comprehensive Place-based Response to the Opioid Crisis

We believe those closest to the problem are oftentimes best positioned to find the solutions.

To provide greater coordination and improved service delivery at the municipal level for those suffering with opioid use disorder (OUD), RIZE conducted a gap analysis in 2019 involving the cities of Chelsea, Everett, Malden, and Medford to examine existing collaborations across these communities and seek opportunities to build upon their work. The findings identified areas for each municipality to work on specific initiatives, but also on collective action.

That is the impetus for investment in an ongoing collaboration involving these neighboring cities as they work across municipal lines to fight the overdose crisis. This unique information-sharing undertaking brings together government agency leaders directing overdose prevention efforts – whether they are in the police department or the health department – with their respective counterparts to build knowledge, strengthen working relationships, and foster partnerships with the goal of saving lives.

This unified response to the overdose crisis exemplifies how local governments can be best positioned to address the needs of those experiencing OUD in their communities. This collaboration also shows great promise for scalability as cities and towns throughout Massachusetts can use it as a blueprint for working together to provide a robust coordinated response to treating OUD and saving lives.

How funds are being used:

  • Chelsea – in collaboration with Community Action Programs Inter-City– will hire a part-time, bilingual substance use disorder mobile outreach case worker to provide comprehensive mobile outreach, assist with detox and other treatment placements, and support basic needs for clients.
  • Everett – will support a collaboration with Elliot Community Health Services for a recovery coach/navigator position to bolster support for addiction treatment and wrap around services in the community. The grant will also increase emergency behavioral health resources for people in crisis and will support sober home scholarships, and other basic needs.
  • Malden – will support its recovery coach academy for interested individuals to be trained and certified as recovery coaches and fund recovery coaching. The grant will also provide funding for transportation passes, sober home scholarships, and other basic needs.
  • Medford – will support its recovery coaching program, peer support group, workforce incentive program and sober home scholarships, outreach materials, and other basic needs.

The Metropolitan Area Planning Council facilitates structured meetings with representatives from the four grantee communities. This backbone support creates the space for routine updates, best practice sharing, and to identify new resources, linkages, and opportunities for direct service partnerships between the communities.