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Addiction in Franklin County

BSAS decides where treatment beds and money go, and it’s not here

  • Hillary Jacobs speaks at GCC February 24, 2014<br/>  Recorder/Paul Franz
  • State Bureau of Substance Abuse Services Director Hilary Jacobs talks at GCC during recent forumn on substance abuse.  Recorder/Paul Franz

GREENFIELD — The good news is additional addiction treatment beds are on the way; the bad news is they’re headed elsewhere.

Hilary Jacobs, director of the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services, participated in the regional heroin and opioid task force’s community forum Monday at Greenfield Community College.

The Legislature and governor recently provided $10 million for 200 new Section 35 substance abuse committal beds and 80 transitional support beds, she said, and has this year added money for 64 new public detox and post-detox transitional beds.

These new beds will go elsewhere. Jacobs said BSAS decides where beds will be located based on numbers, including demand and number of existing detox facilities.

While Franklin County has no detox facility, it is in a BSAS region that does.

Springfield, Holyoke and Pittsfield have such facilities, she said.

The BSAS is an agency within the state Department of Public Health responsible for channelling state funding to a host of prevention, intervention, and treatment programs.

These include the Massachusetts Substance Abuse Helpline for addicts and families of addicts — 800-327-5050 or online at helpline-online.com — and prevention coalition targeted at youth drinking.

Jacobs said these are valuable because the earlier you begin drinking the more likely you are to develop drug addictions.

Prevention programs targeting pills and heroin are skipping a beat, she said.

BSAS also funds the nasal Narcan or naloxone community distribution pilot program, distributing free doses of the opioid overdose antidote, which she said has saved lives a documented 2,500 times to date.

Greenfield is in line for a new residential treatment center for women, run by the Center for Human Development and with a three-year grant from the Department of Public Health, bringing 25 new treatment beds to the area. Greenfield has two existing sober-living houses, the Beacon House for Men and Beacon House for Women. The North Quabbin has the Orange Recovery House. All three are run by ServiceNet with state funding, and are typically at capacity with waiting lists.

“We have a pretty robust treatment program. Unfortunately we have an even bigger addiction problem,” Jacobs said, in response to repeated descriptions of the available treatment as inadequate.

You can reach Chris Curtis at: ccurtis@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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GREENFIELD — The federal war on drugs is a failure, and Franklin County can be a model for an alternative use for the money spent eradicating opium crops in another hemisphere. That was Congressman James McGovern’s message for the crowd attending Monday’s conference at Greenfield Community College. “I want you to succeed because I want your efforts to serve as … 0

I'm remembering the 1960-70"s and those who survived LSD. No beds for them, those who made it... made it, those who didn't... I think it is high time we gave parents back their right to discipline their children. You want to take back the streets as we did before? We also need more police presence, stop slapping these dealers and users on the wrist and you just might see lesser crime.

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