Abell Salutes: R.E.A.C.H. Mobile Health Service

January 1999 / Salutes / Health and Human Services

For its unique approach to delivering drug treatment.

NIMBY, the “Not In My Backyard” syndrome, is the name given to grassroots efforts organized to thwart the establishment and operation of neighborhood on-site programs for drug addiction treatment. Whether it is a clinic proposed for a church or neighborhood center, NIMBY works to keep it from happening. The Institute For Behavior Resource has conceived of a remarkably simple answer: R.E.A.C.H. The program creates a portable “backyard”; it brings the backyard to the center, provides treatment, then backs out and leaves.

The backyard in this case is a van, staffed and equipped to provide patients with methadone treatment, what IBR calls “ambulatory detoxification.” At the same time, in conjunction with the mobile methadone treatment services, R.E.A.C.H. has established a program to provide addicts with counseling support services at existing fixed sites.

The mobile detoxification service makes it possible for IBR to add at least 50 patients to its patient population of 75 now being served. These additional treatment slots are available at a time when it is estimated that one in ten Baltimoreans has a substance abuse problem, but fewer than one in 20 to 30 can be accommodated by existing treatment systems.

The Abell Foundation recognizes the meaningful work of IBR, which through its R.E.A.C.H. program is bringing much needed relief to addicts who seek it, and much deserved gratitude from a community that benefits in such large measure from it.