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12-20-2005

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 6 months ago

December 20, 2005

HEALEY EXPANDS SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT FOR WOMEN

 

 

Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey today announced plans to open a 60-bed residential treatment facility for women who are civilly committed as a result of a substance abuse addiction. The new program will soon end the current practice of housing women at Massachusetts Correctional Facility at Framingham as a means to ensure they receive some form of substance abuse treatment.

 

“With nowhere to go after being released from detox, some women can become homeless, fall into dangerous situations or return to abusing drugs or alcohol,” said Healey. “We now have a safety net for treating women with addictions, which will provide them with the services they need to lead healthy, sober lives.”

 

Based at the Highpoint Treatment Center in New Bedford, the women’s residential substance abuse facility will include a 25-bed detoxification unit with 35 step-down beds. The additional beds allow women, whose substance use puts themselves or others at risk, to receive treatment in a community-based setting, rather than at MCI-Framingham.

 

The number of women ordered by a court into a detoxification program and subsequently forced to obtain treatment in a prison environment has grown over the past 10 years from nine women in 1995 to 157 women last year.

 

“This is a tremendous opportunity for the Commonwealth to fill a gap in our substance abuse treatment options for women,” said Corrections Commissioner Kathleen Dennehy. “Women who are civilly committed do not belong in prison. They need to be in a community based treatment center such as Highpoint.”

 

The new program will offer more comprehensive substance abuse treatment services for the women who are currently sent to the state’s correctional facility. Since civil commitments are housed and treated separately from convicted criminals, the women are not able to participate in a number of substance abuse programs.

 

The four-year contract costs $1.8 million per year and the program will be open to women affected by substance abuse addiction in April 2006. The contract was awarded to Highpoint based on their track record of providing a comprehensive continuum of care for those in need of substance treatment.

 

“We are facing a silent epidemic of substance abuse and addiction in the Commonwealth which has been fueled, in no small part, by the skyrocketing use and abuse of OxyContin and heroin,” said Senator Steven Tolman, Senate Chairman of the Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse. “Adequate and appropriate treatment is the key to recovery, and these beds will go a long way toward achieving that end.”

 

“Massachusetts is taking a critical step in combating the epidemic of substance abuse today by investing in a secure treatment facility for women,” said Representative Ruth Balser, House Chairwoman of the Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse. “By taking this program out of a prison and putting it into a health care facility, we offer not only care but hope to those suffering from the illness of addiction.”

 

In addition to the detox component, the programs at Highpoint will offer counseling services for domestic violence, trauma, and women’s health and family issues. Patients will also have access to an “aftercare” component to assist women suffering from addiction to help maintain their recovery and make a healthy and productive return to society.

 

The development of the program follows the recommendations identified in Healey’s Substance Abuse Strategic Plan issued in May as well as the report released by the Department of Correction’s Advisory Council.

 

 

 

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