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Recovery Services

Through outreach, engagement, advocacy, referrals, harm reduction, and recovery services, we help people access the support they need. 

Recovery Services works with partners from across government and communities to address substance use disorder and the needs of people who use drugs.

Our Programs

Our Work

3-1-1 for Recovery Services is the City of Boston’s confidential 24/7 referral center for:

  • substance use treatment, and
  • recovery services.

Visit the 3-1-1 website or call 3-1-1 (617-635-4500) for help.

Access to Harm Reduction, Overdose Prevention and Education (AHOPE) is the City of Boston’s harm reduction program and needle exchange site. The program provides a range of service to active injection drug users, including:

  • Integrated HIV, Hepatitis, and STI testing
  • free, legal, and anonymous needle exchange
  • supported referrals to HIV, Hepatitis, STI treatment
  • medical, overdose prevention education and training
  • risk reduction supplies to reduce the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C infection
  • risk reduction counseling
  • supported referrals to all modalities of substance abuse treatment, and
  • other services. 

Learn about AHOPE

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.

Services include:

  • clinical screenings
  • assessments
  • 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.

Providing Access to Addictions Treatment, Hope and Support (PAATHS) is a one-stop shop. The program provides information for anyone looking for information about, or access to, substance use treatment services. That includes individuals, families, community partners, and other treatment providers. Residents can reach PAATHS by calling 3-1-1 or 1-855-494-4057.

Learn more about PAATHS

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:

  • physiological
  • 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.

The Youth Prevention Program was created in response to the Boston Youth Substance Use Prevention Strategic Plan. The plan was released in 2018.

The program focuses on supporting:

  • Boston stakeholders
  • community partners, and
  • residents.

We do this through four key areas:

  1. Educational material and media messages to youth and their families
  2. Health education around substance use and social-emotional learning.
  3. Expanding engagement with all youth populations
  4. Coordinating prevention efforts between public, private, and nonprofit sectors

Community Affairs

Neighborhood Engagement Teams

Builds relationships with people on the street, connecting them to substance use and mental health services. The teams also support local businesses with constituent issues, linking them to appropriate City services. Teams operate in Nubian Square and East Boston.

Low-Threshold Day Spaces

Two programs, located at the Whittier Street Health Center and Boston Living Center, offer support groups, harm reduction supplies, service referrals, and basic amenities to people who use drugs and experience homelessness.

The Nubian Square Task Force

A coalition of community, public health organizations, and businesses that share and coordinate resources in the Nubian Square area, supporting people who use drugs and experience homelessness. 


Low-threshold Shelters

BPHC coordinates and provides funding to six Low-Threshold Shelters that stabilize people who use drugs and experience homelessness, offering holistic care and navigation to permanent housing.

Overdose Data to Action

CDC-funded project using data to reduce overdose mortality, especially among historically underserved and overdose-burdened populations. Activities include deploying substance use navigators in community health centers, expanding naloxone distribution/training, educating medical providers, and creating a data dashboard.

Low-threshold work program
Low-Threshold Work Program

People who use drugs face hurdles to employment. The Low-Threshold Work Program provides pay-per-day opportunities to participants, building vocational skills and self-efficacy. The program connects participants to case management and long-term employment.


  • Boston Opioid Settlements Project – Boston is engaging communities about the opioid settlements, helping families heal, and preventing further harm.
  • Long Island Recovery Campus – The City of Boston is committed to rebuilding the Long Island bridge and creating a recovery campus.
  • Overdose Prevention Centers – BPHC released a public brief recommending overdose prevention centers, summarizing evidence and local feasibility reports. 
  • Massachusetts Coalition for Addiction Services – coalition of organizations advocating to fund harm reduction, treatment, and recovery support.
  • Association for Behavioral Healthcare – statewide association representing community-based mental health and addiction treatment provider organizations.
  • Big Cities Health Coalition – Public health leaders from major cities gather to share strategies and resources and unite around advocacy. 
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