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Mayor Walsh launches streamlined approach to connecting residents with recovery services

September 13, 2016

Mayor's Office

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Mayor's Office

The City of Boston's new hotline support system is designed to help people struggling with substance use and addiction.

Mayor Walsh's Press Conference on 311 to the Office of Recovery Services

BOSTON - Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh today launched 311 for Recovery Services, the City of Boston's new hotline support system designed to help people struggling with substance use and addiction to access recovery resources.

Anyone in the city of Boston can now call 311, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week to access:

  • All levels of substance use/addiction treatment
  • Recovery-related support services for friends and family
  • Answers to general questions related to substance use/addiction

"We have an incredibly committed treatment community in the City and State health departments and across our city's network of providers, yet many people in Boston still need help accessing addiction recovery services," said Mayor Walsh. "311, the City of Boston's 24/7 hotline for constituent services, has proven successful at providing constituents access to basic municipal services. Under the leadership of the Mayor's Office of Recovery Services, this new initiative will offer residents access to comprehensive recovery services through 311."

311 operators will receive all recovery calls on the front end. Once a call is identified as a recovery services call, it will be referred to a Providing Access to Addictions Treatment, Hope and Support (PAATHS) Recovery Specialist. The call will be conferenced through to PAATHS. A Recovery Specialist will then work with the caller to determine the most relevant services based upon their need. BPHC projects that this 311 integration will increase the number of weekly PAATHS calls from 100 to 300, and consequently increase the number of people connected to vital recovery services.

PAATHS recovery specialists will directly receive calls seven days a week,Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on weekends from noon to 4 p.m.  All calls placed to 311 during recovery specialists' off hours will be referred to the State's comprehensive addiction support line, The Helpline, or to designated overnight recovery coach staff located within the Gavin Foundation.

"We anticipate that 311 for Recovery Services will increase constituents' overall awareness and access to recovery services in Boston," said Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) Executive Director Monica Valdes Lupi, JD, MPH. "The service supports our efforts to serve residents battling substance use and addiction, meeting people where they are with the support and services they need. People using the service will never be placed on hold and the recovery service specialists will be committed to identifying the unique path that best fits their recovery needs."

311 for Recovery Services is coordinated by the Mayor's Office of Recovery Services (ORS) and is supported by full-time recovery specialist staff members located at PAATHS. PAATHS, a program within BPHC, is the City of Boston's comprehensive program providing access to all levels of addiction treatment services.

311 for Recovery Services was funded through the FY17 budget process. The FY17 investment will enable the program to scale up its services through integration with the Boston 311 service to meet increased demand for these services. The Mayor's Office of Recovery Services has prioritized increasing access to care and decreasing barriers and has partnered with Boston 311, the city's innovative and nationally recognized municipal service application, to meet this goal. In addition to the full time recovery specialists at PAATHS, this initiative depends on a strong continuum of key partnerships at the City, State, and local provider level, including:

  • Boston 311, City of Boston (311)
  • Department of Innovation and Technology, City of Boston (DoIT)
  • The Massachusetts Substance Abuse Information and Education Helpline, Massachusetts Department of Public Health's Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (The Helpline),
  • Gavin Foundation

"311 for Recovery Services is set up in such a way that there is always someone available to help," said ORS Director Jennifer Tracey. "While some treatment placements are not available for access overnight, thanks to our strong partnership continuum, there is always a trained recovery professional available to talk."

You can learn more information about 311 for Recovery Services in our informational video.

Accessing Recovery Services Through 311