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HomenewsPeople Experiencing Homelessness Can Get Free, Walk-in Addiction Treatment at One of...

People Experiencing Homelessness Can Get Free, Walk-in Addiction Treatment at One of These Clinics.

Two emergency shelters in Passaic and Mercer counties will soon give homeless New Jersey residents free addiction medication and support at walk-in clinics.

The state Department of Human Services will give Eva’s Village in Paterson and the Rescue Mission of Trenton $425,000 to run medication-assisted treatment clinics for shelter residents and visitors.

Rescue Mission CEO Barrett Young said, “This is a really big effort in trying to attack this problem and put a dent in the numbers” of addict deaths.

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The mission provides emergency housing, food, and community-based medical and mental health services. Young estimates that two-thirds of its 1,000 annual clients abuse substances.


Buprenorphine, a strong prescription opioid, decreases drug addiction urges and destructive behaviour in MAT. Methadone and Vivitrol treat alcohol and opiate addiction.

CEO Howard Haughton said Eva’s Village provides psychiatric, basic medical, and MAT to 500 people a month, but addiction therapy is limited. The award would allow them to help more people, including uninsured ones, as 98% of his customers are addicted.

“Providing MAT to homeless persons with substance-use disorders is a good starting step in addressing the common addiction in our community,” Haughton said. He suggested treating the emergency shelter.

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“Once they come to Eva’s, we can provide access to our many rehabilitation programmes and mental health services that will enhance their likelihood of stable and better lifestyles.”

DHS Commissioner Sarah Adelman said homeless people are in high danger of opioid overdose, but studies show they will seek care when available. Emergency shelter MAT reduces those barriers. The government will issue another RFP to expand the nationally funded programme to more venues.

DHS deputy commissioner Lisa Asare said prescribers will see patients the day they arrive.
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This initiative assures shelter and other care providers may offer medication and services uninterrupted.

In a single-day survey last year, New Jersey’s 211 homeless assistance centre found 8,800 homeless people, including 1,750 chronically homeless.


Assistant DHS Commissioner Valerie Mielke said two short California pilot programmes with 116 patients showed that directly linking homeless people to MAT enhanced their health and stability. She said that three-quarters of the larger pilot programme participants continued therapy after buprenorphine.

The opioid epidemic, which killed at least 3,000 New Jerseyans annually through 2022, has been prioritised by Gov. Phil Murphy.

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New Jersey was the first state to enable emergency responders to deliver buprenorphine to naloxone-recovered patients and enhance MAT availability in jails and prisons. It increased Narcan and needle exchange programmes.

MAT teams at shelters will provide medication on demand, peer support, case management, and referrals to alternative therapies and services. The state claimed these teams will refer people to community health clinics for physical difficulties.

Haughton said Eva’s Village’s medical director and clinical team provide counselling, peer-to-peer programmes, and other support services and oversee an outpatient MAT-administering substance-use disorder clinic. Funding allows growth.

Young said the Rescue Mission works with Trenton-based methadone and another treatment centre Iron Recovery and Wellness.

He noted that the money allows them to expand this partnership so Iron Recovery may deploy its mobile unit to the Ferry Street business six days a week, making client engagement easier.

“If you build or supply it in-house, people will use it. Young dubbed it the “field of dreams” after the 1989 hit.

Young encouraged mission peer-recovery expert applicants. The state said Rowan University/Cooper Medical School in Camden and Rutgers University Medical School in Newark may provide training, monitoring, and remote help.
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