Integrity House will expand its substance use disorder services in the community through the Mobile Access initiative, a new mobile medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program. Made possible by a contract from the New Jersey State Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), Integrity House will now use a specially-equipped vehicle to increase community members’ access to MAT to assist them in their treatment and recovery from substance use disorder (SUD).
The Mobile Access program is intended to reduce barriers to medications that are proven to be lifesaving. It is designed to engage individuals who experience obstacles in connecting to care at traditional brick-and-mortar facilities, with a focus on individuals who are homeless. The use of Mat, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, has been shown to treat substance use disorders, assist with recovery, and prevent opioid overdose. Integrity’s Mobile Outreach Vehicle (MOV) will enable those in need to connect with clinicians in real-time to address their behavioral health, medical and recovery needs.
Bringing low-threshold MAT therapies and related healthcare services directly to areas of high need addresses a significant gap in healthcare services. The program will also connect community members to additional services, including primary care, mental health services, and social services such as housing. In addition, it will help provide a stronger and more effective connection to needed services offered by Integrity House, including behavioral health services, traditional healthcare, and other community engagement activities, such as the Reach for Recovery education and prevention program Integrity implements in collaboration with the Essex County Division of Community Health Services.
“Access to medical treatment and behavioral healthcare is a vitally important step that will help to stem the soaring overdose rates that we have been seeing over the past several years,” said Robert J. Budsock, President and CEO of Integrity House. “Integrity House’s new mobile medical unit will accelerate our efforts to bring treatment directly to individuals struggling with addiction, meeting with them literally in their community, in the places where treatment is most needed, enabling us to better help these people on their path to recovery, to reduce overdoses and to save lives.”
Naima Briscoe, Senior Director of Development and Strategy at Integrity House, is tasked with implementing this initiative. The program will feature a robust case management component, incorporating both a case manager and a peer recovery specialist who will work closely with community members to ensure they remain engaged in treatment after initially interfacing with the MOV, even if they are referred to a service provider other than Integrity House. Case managers will also be charged with implementing creative strategies to retain clients even when they are hospitalized or incarcerated.
Integrity House will use the MOV to travel to targeted areas within the community to perform on-the-spot assessments with individuals who experience SUD, and, if clinically indicated, immediately prescribe medications to treat SUD. The agency will partner with a variety of community providers to ensure those seeking services have access to “whole-person” care. This includes other licensed SUD and mental health programs, primary care providers, and community-based agencies such as Hyacinth and the North Jersey Community Research Initiative (NJCRI) to ensure individuals have access to HIV testing and treatment and COVID-19 vaccination.