Boston Overdose Linkage to Treatment Study (BOLTS)

Client: Boston Public Health Commission
Topic Area: Behavioral health and substance use
Service: Applied Research

With funding from RIZE Massachusetts, ICH is leading a qualitative research study with collaborators from the Boston Public Health Commission, Boston Medical Center, and BU School of Public Health. The study, called the Boston Overdose Linkage to Treatment Study (BOLTS), will examine racial/ethnic inequities in access to treatment for people who recently experienced an opioid overdose in Boston. The study design, data collection, analysis, and reporting will be guided by input from a wide range of stakeholders, including Black and Latinx people in recovery as well as people who use drugs. BOLTS will include qualitative interviews with key informants including policymakers, healthcare providers, harm reductionists, and first responders, as well as Black, Latinx, and White Boston residents who have experienced an opioid overdose. During interviews, we will apply a race equity lens to explore experiences and service-seeking behaviors before and after overdose, and barriers and facilitators to accessing treatment and harm reduction services. Interviews will also explore the impact of COVID-19 on service-seeking and access. The ultimate goal is to develop and disseminate community-informed recommendations for how Boston systems can improve access to opioid use disorder treatment and harm reduction services, particularly for Black and Latinx community members.