May Newsletter

COVID-19 Survey of Patients and Families Struggling with Substance Use Disorder

“The Addiction Policy Forum is conducting a research study to capture your thoughts and experiences during the COVID-19 public health crisis.”


COVID-19: Protecting our families and communities

“The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is quickly sweeping across the U.S. and the whole world. This page includes public health resources in multiple languages that can be shared with immigrant and refugee families; relevant information on immigration policy and enforcement; and other valuable resources, including details on key programs that sick or displaced workers may need.”



The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) application is now available (as of Monday, 4/20/20). 

This is targeted to provide assistance for gig workers, self-employed, religious workers, people seeking part-time work, and others not eligible for regular unemployment assistance. Go to www.mass.gov/pua to learn how to apply, to review the eligibility and documentation checklists and to access the application. 

The Department of Unemployment Assistance call center phone at 877-626-6800 is also available for phone PUA applications for those without access to the internet or computer.

Special Considerations When Seeking Substance Use Treatment During COVID-19


“While we hear daily reports on business closures and the importance of social distancing, many treatment programs are still open and accepting patients.”


BRTA Service Update 4/8/2020

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The Berkshire Regional Transit Authority (BRTA) is committed to the health and safety of our customers utilizing BRTA services during this uncertain time of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The BRTA is providing transportation for CRITICAL TRIPS ONLY.

The BRTA highly recommends all customers wear a medical or cloth mask to cover their mouth and nose, as recommended by the CDC, while onboard any BRTA vehicle. Visit cdc.gov for a tutorial on making your own cloth face cover and important information on how to wear a face cover. Also, practice social distancing while riding on the bus; maintain space when seating.

All riders must be traveling to a critical, essential destination. Critical trips are defined as work related, vital appointments, or necessary shopping trips. All riders are required to exit the bus at the end of the route, or your stated destination, and may not re-board the same vehicle for a return trip. Multiple or consecutive round trips are not permitted and riders who appear to be loitering will be asked to deboard.

For your health and the health of others, if you are sick, have a cough, fever, or other COVID-19 symptoms, do not ride the BRTA bus.

Our staff and customers’ safety remain important to us.

Facilitating Expansion of SSPs

OASH Efforts to Support Syringe Services Programs in Vulnerable Communities


Selected Health Conditions and Likelihood of Improvement with Treatment


Release of CDC Vital Signs Report on Newly Reported Cases of Hepatitis C and Updated Hepatitis C Screening Recommendations

“Hepatitis C now affects every generation, underscoring new CDC hepatitis C screening recommendations that all adults should be tested at least once and all pregnant women during every pregnancy.”



SAD O.D. Logo

The first phase of SADOD.org has been launched to serve people across Massachusetts affected by a death from substance use. The website is organized around three portals on the home page that lead to each of the three populations SADOD serves, which overlap but are each also affected by a death in different ways:

  • The public (bereaved family and friends of someone who died)
  • People with a history of drug use (from those for whom recovery means abstinence to those who are receiving harm-reduction services)
  • Frontline care providers (those who deliver services to people who are at high risk of dying from substance use)

BRSS TACS Recovery LIVE! Providing Digital Peer Recovery Support Services Resource List


Notes from the Field: Outbreak of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection Among Persons Who Inject Drugs — Cabell County, West Virginia, 2018–2019

Atkins A, McClung RP, Kilkenny M, et al.

“n January 2019, West Virginia Bureau for Public Health (WVBPH) surveillance staff members noted an increase in diagnoses of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection among persons who inject drugs in Cabell County, West Virginia (population approximately 91,900*).”


HIV and Transgender Communities

“Nearly 1 million people in the United States identify as transgender. Transgender people, particularly transgender women, are at high risk for HIV infection.”



CDC reviewing ‘stunning’ universal testing results from Boston homeless shelter

By: Drew Karedes

“Of the 397 people tested, 146 people tested positive. Not a single one had any symptoms.”

A Message From Gramma

“The campaign and PSA is part of an effort to help patients and families struggling with addiction be aware of the risks and how to take extra precautions during the pandemic.”​



Key resources on ‘public charge’

From: Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition


So Far, More Than 300 Prisoners Released Due To COVID-19 Under Mass. High Court’s Ruling

By: Deborah Becker

“State prisons and county jails in Massachusetts have released 367 prisoners after this month’s state Supreme Judicial Court ruling on reducing incarceration because of the coronavirus.”


Coping with Loss in Our Communities

“Loss can be experienced in many ways. The most obvious loss is a death of a family member or friend. There are other kinds of losses, however, such as the loss of connection to our family or community or a decrease in level of mobility and independence. This workshop will explore loss and grief generally, but also the impact COVID-19 has had on our traditional grieving process. Through this session, participants will learn ways to support the grieving process in their communities to support recovery and healing.”

Instructor: Mary Curlew, Jewish Family and Children’s Services

Fee: Training fees are waived at this time

Three Dates Available (please register for ONLY ONE)

Date: May 6, 2020

Time: 10am to 11:30am


Date: May 7, 2020

Time: 1pm to 2:30pm


Date: May 11, 2020

Time: 10am to 11:30pm


Crisis Standards of Care: Ten Years of Successes and Challenges: Proceedings of a Workshop (2020)


HELP WANTED: Family Recovery Support Specialist

“The Family Recovery Support Specialist will support women and their young families on their self-identified recovery path both in the emotional and logistical tasks of treatment and recovery. The right candidate will have a sense of humor, be a creative and autonomous thinker who can flexibly work within in a team.”