‘BUPE Pathways’ Program reduces illicit opioid use and improves quality of life 

Crossposted from Public Health Insider 

In downtown Seattle, a program to treat opioid use disorder that is co-located with needle exchange services is showing promise for reaching people experiencing homelessness.  The program is based on a public health model that provides immediate, client-centered care and access to buprenorphine. 

Initial findings from two different sources of data shows that the innovative Buprenorphine Pathways (Bupe Pathways) program may reduce opioid use and improve the health and well-being of some of our most vulnerable community members. A recent article in the journal Substance Abuse found that Bupe Pathways was successful at retaining people who often face barriers to more traditional treatment settings and showed evidence of reduction in opioid use. A separate qualitative evaluation found the program improved patients’ general health, access to health care, relationships and housing. 

At the core of the model is co-locating the clinic with the Public Health Needle Exchange and the Downtown Public Health Center. This allows patients to begin treatment with buprenorphine as close to the time as they are ready, as opposed to waiting for appointments or needing to travel to other sites. The clinic also connects people to social services. 

Read more from Public Health Insider