Shelter-Based Opioid Treatment: Increasing Access to Addiction Treatment in a Family Shelter

American Journal of Public Health

In 2015, the Family Team at the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program developed shelter-based opioid treatment (SBOT) as an option to treat opioid use disorder on-site at a family motel– shelter. Our objectives in the small retrospective study outlined here were to assess SBOT’s feasibility and to describe patient characteristics and early outcomes in an effort to promote dissemination.

The Family Team has treated adult and pediatric patients in a variety of settings, including motel–shelters, since 1986. At a 120-room family motel–shelter in Massachusetts, our team of one physician, one nurse, two case managers, and one behavioral health clinician has established a twice-a-week outreach clinic where the team members regularly encounter patients experiencing medical (e.g., skin and soft tissue infections, hepatitis C) and social (e.g., unemployment, loss of child custody) consequences of opioid use disorder.