BOSTON – Friday, October 5, 2018 – Mayor Martin J. Walsh today released a Request for Information (RFI) to inform the City of Boston’s planning of a comprehensive, long-term recovery campus on Long Island. The City will gather information from health care providers, caregivers, residents, and other interested parties as it works to create a long-term recovery campus on Long Island, building on the Walsh Administration’s commitment to ensuring every person has access to the recovery services they need.
“It is crucial that as we plan for the future of Long Island, we do so in a way that is collaborative and involves the input from people who play a role in addressing the opioid crisis,” said Mayor Walsh. “In Boston, we have taken many steps to fight the epidemic, and we have invested more money every year to expand access to treatment. But this is a crisis of historic proportions, and our long-term response must match it.”
The RFI asks that interested parties submit information to help develop a new model of recovery services that will serve the entire region, and ensure a continuum of care for those who suffer from substance use disorders. Information from the RFI will help the City explore new and existing ways to increase access to treatment, support, and long-term recovery spanning all levels of a continuum of care that range from inpatient detoxification programs to transitional support services and residential treatment. Gathering information is the first step to conceptualize a recovery campus on Long Island, as the City continues to move forward in the process to rebuild the bridge to the island.
The City will ensure that the planning and development of a recovery campus on Long Island is informed by the needs of those impacted by the opioid epidemic. Boston is committed to providing services spanning the whole continuum of care such as harm reduction, detox, residential treatment, transitional housing and ongoing peer support.
Through the RFI and other stakeholder engagement efforts the City work to achieve the following goals in the development in the Long Island Campus:
1 Provide the highest quality services: Ensure access to the highest levels of medical care, social services, and treatment for all island guests and staff as well as maintain excellence in service delivery.
2 Bolster our region’s continuum of care: Create new ways for people to find the care they need regardless of their personal circumstances.
3 Explore new forms of care: Develop new, innovative ideas for services and programming. This could mean more fully integrating art therapy and other opportunities for creative self-expression into the service continuum. Or it could mean making workforce development and job training opportunities more readily available to individuals in recovery.
4 Give guests a say: Open opportunities for guests to co-create what happens on the new recovery campus. This is crucial not only for helping guests find agency in their recovery, but of continually updating the recovery campus offerings to respond to changing needs and times.
5 Design a cohesive campus: Thoughtfully designing an environment that is welcoming, connective, and creative. Through this, we can support people with different needs and from different backgrounds to find a common community of recovery.
6 Connecting resources: At any one particular time, there might be several resources a person needs, from health care to housing to legal assistance. And over time, new resources will be needed. The recovery campus should connect people to the resources they need while preparing them for the journey ahead.
During his January 2018 inaugural address, Mayor Walsh pledged to rebuild the Long Island bridge to create a recovery campus on Long Island. Following the announcement, the City began working on the planning process to rebuild the bridge. Most recently, the City of Boston received a Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) certificate to continue in comprehensive state permitting process. Additional updates are available on boston.gov/long-island.
Having been in recovery for over 20 years, Mayor Walsh understands firsthand how easily addiction can take hold and how difficult it can be to recover. In his first term, Mayor Walsh made expanding access to recovery services in Boston a priority by creating the Office of Recovery Services to study substance use in Boston and lead the city’s strategy around substance use disorders, addiction and recovery. This is the first and only municipal recovery office in the nation.
The City has taken a comprehensive approach to tackle the opioid epidemic, serving people in all stages of the continuum of care, from providing harm reduction services to ensure people can maintain health in various aspects of their lives, to connecting people with beds at rehabilitation facilities, to offering inpatient and outpatient programming, to long-term peer support for those further along in their recovery journey.
Continuing these efforts, the City of Boston filed a complaint in Suffolk Superior Court against 13 opioid manufacturers, four distributors, and one local doctor that have contributed to the local opioid epidemic through misleading marketing and reckless dissemination of opioids that has led to the deaths of more than 723 Boston residents since 2013. As part of the litigation, the City is seeking to recover both past and future damages and injunctive relief associated with addressing the opioid epidemic in Boston.
The City is accepting both short and long responses to the RFI. Long responses can be no more than ten pages and must be submitted to Long-Island@boston.gov with the subject line “RFI.” Individuals issuing short responses are encouraged to submit responses by using our online form. Responses to the RFI are due on October 31, 2018, at 12:00 PM Boston local time.