Mobile service delivery in response to the opioid epidemic in Philadelphia

Original research
Stewart, Rebecca E. et al

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Open Access / OK to Reproduce


Peer Reviewed



We characterize the capacity, barriers, and sustainment of mobile opioid use disorder (OUD) care services in a large city with a high incidence of OUD and HIV.

Findings/Key points

MOCUs are run by small, multidisciplinary teams, typically composed of a clinician, one or two case managers, and a peer recovery specialist or outreach worker. MOCUs provide a range of services, including medications for OUD, wound care, medical services, case management, and screening for infectious diseases. No units provide methadone, but all units provide naloxone, six write prescriptions for buprenorphine, and one unit dispenses buprenorphine. The most frequently reported barriers include practical challenges of working on a MOCU (e.g. lack of space, safety), lack of community support, and patients with substantial medical and psychosocial needs. Interviewees reported concerns about funding and specifically as it relates to providing their staff with adequate pay. The most frequently reported facilitators include positive relationships with the community, collaboration with other entities (e.g. local nonprofits, the police department, universities), and having non-clinical staff (e.g. outreach workers, peer recovery specialists) on the unit.


Semi-structured interviews with leadership from all seven mobile OUD care units (MOCU) providing a medication for OUD or other substance use disorder services in Philadelphia.


Barriers and enablers
Wrap-around services
About prescribers