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Addiction in Franklin County

Women’s drug treatment center to open in March

Recorder/Paul Franz
Following renovation o the former Pioneer Valley Rest Home on Montague City Road (pictured), the Center for Human Development hopes to open a facility in March that would help area women in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.

Recorder/Paul Franz Following renovation o the former Pioneer Valley Rest Home on Montague City Road (pictured), the Center for Human Development hopes to open a facility in March that would help area women in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.

GREENFIELD — The area’s treatment capacity for women in the crucial early stages of recovery from drug and alcohol addiction should double this spring.

Mary McEneany, chief administrative officer for the Center for Human Development, said her agency has won a three-year grant from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to operate a 25-bed substance abuse rehabilitation center.

CHD hopes to open the facility in March, McEneany said, following extensive renovation of the former Pioneer Valley Rest Home on Montague City Road.

Recovering addicts and family members of those killed by their addictions expressed frustration with the scarcity of such programs in interviews early this year for a series of stories on the heroin and painkiller problem in the county. Professionals familiar with the problem said heroin and the chemically related prescription opioids have become a growing problem here as elsewhere in recent years. Overdose deaths rarely become public, but the situation was underscored this week by what investigators say was the apparent heroin overdose death of a young Greenfield woman on Dec. 13.

There is no detoxification program in the county, with Baystate Franklin Medical Center’s emergency room and mental health unit serving as defacto detox centers since the hospital closed its 24-bed Beacon Recovery Center in 2003. Long-term recovery programs after the relatively brief period of withdrawal from alcohol or drug addiction are available, but beds are scarce.

The new center would more than double the available beds for women in the early stages of recovery.

“It’s for those stages after detox when people are trying to get therapy and counselling and get their lives back together,” McEneany said.

There is currently only one such residential drug rehabilitation program for women in Franklin County, the Beacon House for Women in Greenfield, and two for men. Each can house about 20 people at a time and all typically run at or near capacity.

McEneany said the new center will be voluntary and free to the client, their stay funded by the DPH grant rather than insurance. Health insurance will generally fund drug treatment, but only for short periods.

McEneany said she does not believe there will be a time limit to stays.

The grant is in the range of $600,000 to $700,000 a year for three years, with the Center for Human Development able to reapply for DPH funding when the grant ends, McEneany said.

A Greenfield resident, McEneany said it was her hope to bring the facility to Greenfield because she is aware of the need for treatment and because it will bring 10 to 11 full-time jobs to town.

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

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