The Office of Recovery Services and the Recovery Services Bureau work together, with the state, city, and community partners to address substance use disorder in Boston.
2023 Recovery Month
National Recovery Month serves as a platform to honor those living in recovery and underscore the programs and supports available to people experiencing substance use disorder. The Boston Public Health Commission is partnering across departments and neighborhoods to support the following activities:MA Recovery Day
Statewide celebration of recovery taking place at Faneuil Hall on September 26.Recovery Documentary Series
A collaboration with the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, Boston Public Library, and Brendan Little Strategies to show and discuss three documentary films.Nubian Square Task Force Presents Recovery Day
A community event featuring recovery speakers and food, happening at the Boston Public Library Roxbury branch on September 30.LGBTQ+ OD Prevention
Providing an overdose prevention training for the LGBTQ+ community, in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ+ Advancement.
Visit our calendar to learn more about the Recovery Month events and activities happening across Boston.
Our ProgramsOur Work
A welcoming space for individuals receiving services in the Newmarket Square neighborhood.
Opened in August 2017 and moved into a new building at 26 Atkinson Street in December 2021, the Engagement Center is a welcoming, low-threshold daytime space for individuals navigating homelessness and substance use to access resources; engage in recovery, behavioral health and homeless services; and receive nursing care and medical support.
The “low-threshold model” improves access to care for people impacted by addiction by:
Lowering barriers to entry
Tailoring services to the needs of people who use drugs
Prioritizing trusted, caring staff
The Engagement Center spaces offers guests access to:
Nurse stations for medical care
Meeting space for housing advocates, counselors, or recovery coaches
Programming space for art, therapy and wellness services
TV, phone chargers, wifi and books
Computer and phone workstations available for email access, applications, and virtual meetings.
Restrooms and showers
Water, coffee, and light snacks
Participants receive daily nursing care, including medication management, from Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program. They can also receive medical care, connect with a behavioral health provider, and start substance use disorder treatment.
Learn more about the Engagement Center and its design here.
This is a six- to 12-month residential substance use treatment program. Entre Familia provides bilingual and bicultural, gender-specific, substance use disorder treatment to pregnant and postpartum women and their children. The program provides substance use disorders (SUDs) recovery services. Support is offered to pregnant and postpartum women who are 18 and older and Massachusetts residents.
- clinical screenings
- referrals to medical and mental health services
- residential care
- comprehensive case management
- childcare services
- family treatment planning, and
- referrals for specialized services to address developmental and behavioral difficulties and early intervention.
Mobile Sharps Team provides proactive sweeps in high volume areas. They respond to 311 calls for improperly discarded syringes in public areas. There are eleven outdoor kiosks for syringe disposal that are located in hard-hit areas.
Training on safe sharps disposal is given to:
- Boston Public Schools
- the Boston Housing Authority
- the Parks Department, and
- other City departments to improve collection and safety on City property.
Currently, the Community Syringe Redemption Program is being piloted in the Newmarket Square neighborhood to stipend peers who collect syringes. The program provides a low-threshold workforce opportunity for vulnerable residents.
Transitions is a 40-bed, evidence-based, short-term treatment program for adults focusing on:
- relapse prevention
- behavior modification
- interpersonal skill development, and
- re-socialization skills.
Facilitated client discussion groups meet daily. The groups explore life issues related to substance use.
Psychoeducational sessions provide clients information about:
- psychological, and
- sociological consequences of substance use.
We offer one-to-one, goal-oriented sessions. These sessions help clients choose a suitable placement for continuing treatment.
What We've Done So Far
First responder initiatives
We co-led the Post-Overdose Response Team (PORT) with the Boston Fire Department to provide:
- overdose prevention and Narcan, and
- access to care to families and individuals following an overdose in a residential setting.
Emergency Medical Services
EMS leads the Community Assistance Team (Squad 80). The team is designed to rapidly respond to individuals on the street.
EMS also recently put in place a program that leaves naloxone behind at the scene of an overdose for bystanders or those that refuse transport.
Boston Police Department
The Boston Police Street Outreach Unit has expanded to create a centralized system for MH/SUD support. The unit is trained in recovery coaching and crisis intervention. Our goal is to enhance community engagement efforts.
Training Manual: Overdose Prevention for Businesses
An actionable toolkit for businesses to educate their employees and reduce overdose risk.
City of Boston Harm Reduction Toolkit
We need to build a culture of harm reduction in Boston.
Fiscal Year 2022 Report
Read the Office of Recovery Services Fiscal Year 2022 Report.
Overnight Low-Threshold Spaces: Practice Guidance
This guidance is for developing overnight low-threshold spaces for those experiencing substance use disorder and homelessness. Updated March 2023
Resources for the Deaf and Hard-of-hearing
Learn about substance-use recovery services for those who are deaf and hard-of-hearing.
Youth Substance Use Prevention Strategic Plan
Our guide for youth substance use prevention efforts in Boston for the next several years.