Bettina B. Hoeppner, PhD, MS, director of the Health through Flourishing (HtF) Research Program in the department of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), core faculty member for the MGH Health Promotion and Resiliency Intervention Research (HPRIR) Center, and an associate professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School is the first author of a recently published paper in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, A Nationwide Survey Study of Recovery Community Centers Supporting People in Recovery from Substance Use Disorder.

What Question Were You Investigating?

Are Recovery Community Centers (RCCs) feasible collaborators for the medical community to improve the reach of efforts to end the opioid epidemic? RCCs are run by people with lived experience to support people seeking recovery from substance use disorder by providing services (e.g., recovery coaching) and opportunities to engage in recovery-supportive social activities.

What Methods Did You Use?

Our team conducted an online survey with directors of recovery community centers (RCCs; 198 identified nationwide; 62% participated in the survey).

What Did You Find?

RCCs successfully engaged racial/ethnic minority groups (20.8% Hispanic; 22.5% Black) and young adults (23.5% < 25 years of age).

RCCs provide addiction-specific support (e.g., mutual help, recovery coaching), and assistance with basic needs, social services, technology access, and health behaviors.

Regarding medications for opioid use disorder (MOUDs), RCC staff engaged members in conversations about MOUDs (85.2%) and provided direct support for taking MOUD (77.0%). One third (36.1%) of RCCs reported seeking closer collaboration with prescribers.

What Are the Implications?

RCCs are welcoming environments for people who take MOUDs. Closer collaboration between the medical community and community-based, peer-led RCCs may lead to significantly improved reach of efforts to end the opioid epidemic.

What Are the Next Steps?

Efforts are underway to explore how clinics that provide medications for opioid use disorder could provide linkage of their patients to nearby recovery community centers.

Paper Cited:

Hoeppner, B. B., Simpson, H. V., Weerts, C., Riggs, M. J., Williamson, A. C., Finley-Abboud, D., Hoffman, L. A., Rutherford, P. X., McCarthy, P., Ojeda, J., Mericle, A. A., Rao, V., Bergman, B. G., Dankwah, A. B., & Kelly, J. F. (2024). A Nationwide Survey Study of Recovery Community Centers Supporting People in Recovery From Substance Use Disorder. Journal of addiction medicine, 10.1097/ADM.0000000000001285. Advance online publication.

About the Massachusetts General Hospital

Massachusetts General Hospital, founded in 1811, is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The Mass General Research Institute conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the nation, with annual research operations of more than $1 billion and comprises more than 9,500 researchers working across more than 30 institutes, centers and departments. MGH is a founding member of the Mass General Brigham healthcare system.