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Project aims to boost care for opioid use among homeless

Published on September 9, 2019

Tents line a street in Seattle's Pioneer Square neighborhood.
Tents line a street in Seattle's Pioneer Square neighborhood. Image Credit: GeekWire Photo / John Cook

On August 21, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and the University of Washington’s Alcohol & Drug Abuse Institute (ADAI) announced the Meds-First Initiative that expands an innovative approach to treating opioid-use disorder for high-acuity populations to four locations in Washington. The treatment sites are located across the state in North Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma and Walla Walla.

“Medication for opioid-use disorder can save lives. Studies have shown it decreases mortality by anywhere from 40 to 60%,” said Caleb Banta-Green, ADAI research scientist and a UW affiliate associate professor of Health Services. “Unfortunately, the majority of people with opioid-use disorder don’t have access to it.

“The Meds-First Initiative expands access to high-needs populations across Washington. This is a bold approach to ensure that everyone who wants access to the most effective treatments gets them. Until we reach everyone who wants care, we won’t be able to have a major impact on this epidemic of opioid addiction and death,” Banta-Green said.

The initiative removes barriers to medications for opioid-use disorder and provides a research-based model of care for high-needs populations such as people experiencing homelessness. It meets people where they are, providing on-demand, patient-centered care in places that underserved groups already frequent – ensuring those who seek care receive it as soon as possible.


Continue reading at the UW Medicine Newsroom.

News release from the UW Medicine Newsroom.
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