SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – In hopes to provide additional resources to those with substance use disorder, the City of Springfield is partnering with a medical and behavioral health team.

Beginning September 1st, Better Life Partners will be working with community organizations in Springfield. Community outreach and clinical care including, medications for addiction treatment, and therapy for those suffering from opioid and alcohol use disorders. On-demand addiction treatment options connect people in need with mental health resources and healthcare staff.

The Project Rescue initiative that started in July, collaborated with local nonprofits, a network of mental health providers, and a team of on-the-street outreach workers. The response teams targeted specific areas in Springfield to help those who struggle with mental health and abuse, and panhandlers who become aggressive to feed their mental health and addiction needs.

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno states, “I am glad to have Better Life Partners on board as part of our overall strategies to enhance our street outreach efforts to continue to tackle mental health and substance abuse issues. The Covid-19 pandemic has turned this issue into our epidemic. My goal here is to give more tools to our SPD and Housing/Homeless units to deal with panhandling and neighborhood/business issues in getting these individuals the help they need.”

“We are grateful for the opportunity to work with Mayor Sarno, Commissioner Caulton-Harris and other leaders in Springfield to serve the behavioral health needs of those with substance use issues in the city,” said Steven Kelly, Better Life Partners’ Chief Operating Officer.  “Our team of clinicians, counselors and outreach staff will work closely with the city’s leadership and other community partners to make it as easy as possible for underserved populations, especially those who are houseless, to access effective, compassionate treatment.”

“We have seen that equitable, safe and affordable substance use treatment remains out of reach for many Americans, and that’s why this partnership in Springfield is so important,” said Juliana Ekong MD, Chief Executive Officer of Better Life Partners. “Our organization is built to meet people where they are in their journey, with no judgment and no barriers as to how or when they could receive treatment. We are focused on health outcomes and providing care that is centered on dignity and respect. We’re extremely grateful to the Mayor for sharing that vision and turning to us to help in his efforts.”