“Recovery begins with a simple plea for help. That’s why we turned our 311 system into a 24-hour recovery hotline, so we’re always ready to answer that call. Tonight I have a message for everyone watching: if you or your loved one has a problem with drugs or alcohol in the City of Boston, call 3-1-1 right now. We are here to help. Don’t suffer alone.”
Mayor Walsh, State of the City address, January 2016
Marty’s passion for recovery has made him a national leader in the fight against addiction. As someone in recovery himself, Marty knows firsthand the challenges faced by families struggling with substance use disorders. He has made recovery services and second chances a central theme of his administration. For the past three years, it has been his mission to prevent substance use disorders in our city, while at the same time making Boston a place where families dealing with addiction have somewhere to turn. In the process, he has made Boston a beacon of hope for communities fighting the opioid crisis nationwide.
- Mayor Walsh’s Office of Recovery Services (ORS) is the first of its kind in the nation. The ORS provides a wide range of supports to people and families in need, while at the same time catalyzing a cross-sector, citywide effort to prevent and treat addiction.
- A 24-hour hotline for recovery services. In order to make sure that Bostonians who reach out can always find help, Mayor Walsh launched a 24-hour recovery hotline at Boston 311, so anyone can receive recovery services or get questions answered, anytime.
- Overdose prevention. In his first weeks in office, Mayor Walsh got the life-saving medication naloxone (Narcan) into every public safety vehicle in the city. Police, firefighters, and EMTs are using this tool to save lives on a daily basis. In addition, the ORS and its partners provide ongoing overdose prevention and intervention training for family members, community members, and city employees.
- National leadership. The U.S. Conference of Mayors named Marty chairman of a new substance abuse task force that helps mayors in cities all over the country deal with the addiction epidemic. This year Mayor Walsh created a toolkit for addressing substance use disorders in American cities and shared it with his fellow mayors at their annual conference.
- Keeping communities safe. Mayor Walsh introduced the Mobile Sharps Collection Team to clear Boston of discarded needles. Residents can use the 311 mobile app or phone hotline to report a loose needle and the clean up crew will locate and collect the waste.
- Launched an Engagement Center, a safe and comfortable place for people who experience homelessness and addiction to spend time and receive services. Near the intersection of Melnea Cass Boulevard and Mass. Ave., open 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, since its opening the Center has had 2,800 visits, with more than 60 people receiving on-site medical care, and more than 45 people referred to recovery and housing programs.
- Increase funding for addiction services. There’s more work to do across the city, including an expansion of the PAATHS (Providing Access to Addiction Treatment, Hope, and Support) program to extend its hours and serve more of those who are struggling.
- Develop online overdose training. To help even more people, we will focus on expanding access to the skills needed to help reduce overdose fatalities and connect people to recovery services.
- Share a substance use, recovery, and overdose prevention toolkit. Everyone can help and this toolkit will be provided to businesses and other organizations that provide public accommodations.