AP: Abstinence not required: How a Baltimore drug treatment program prioritizes saving lives

Patient waiting for clinic visit, used needle and syringe on the ground

Baltimore’s “Healthcare on the Spot” program aims to address the city’s alarming overdose death rate by offering mobile treatment for substance abuse. The focus is on harm reduction, allowing patients to continue using street drugs but in a safer manner. Most patients report using fewer drugs after the program, according to clinic staff.

The van, called The Spot, provides private consultations and facilitates easy access to buprenorphine prescriptions without requiring ID or health insurance. This medication has been proven to significantly reduce the risk of overdose and death.

The program reflects Baltimore’s broader efforts to mitigate its opioid crisis, which includes initiatives like needle exchanges and naloxone distribution.