Addiction treatment center eyed for Hampshire County

For the Recorder
Monday, March 28, 2016

PLAINFIELD — A new alcohol and drug treatment center for adults may be moving into the hilltowns, providing upwards of 200 jobs and offering help to those who suffer from addiction.

Nashville-based Freedom Healthcare of America, which does business as Addiction Campuses of America, hopes to buy a 600-acre property in Plainfield and Cummington, formerly known as the Academy at Swift River.

“With the heroin epidemic that’s taking place right now in the Northeast, this is a perfect location to optimize treatment capability by offering alternative treatments, and bringing more jobs to the area, boosting the economy of the region,” said Brent Clements, CEO of Addiction Campuses.

Because this would be a new use of the property, the company must get approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals.

ZBA Chairman Dudley Williams said the company will come before his panel at 7 p.m. April 13 in thePlainfield Town Hall.

The Academy at Swift River was a coeducational therapeutic boarding school for teenagers that closed in 2013. There are 12 buildings on the property.

Addiction Campuses declined to say how much it will pay for the property in advance of the sale’s closing.

According to Brian Sullivan, director of public relations for Addiction Campuses of America, Acadia Health Care, a company headquartered in Franklin, Tenn., owns the property.

Variety of programs

If all goes as planned, the facility would feature 120 beds and provide a variety of alcohol and drug rehabilitation services, with both inpatient and outpatient programs for adult men and women.

With as many as 100 Massachusetts residents falling victim each month to the disease of opioid addiction, a new facility would provide a new option for treatment.

According to Sullivan, his company has been watching the opioid crisis unfold in Massachusetts, saying that it has “heard some horror stories” about the addiction problem and a lack of treatment resources.

“We have heard about overdose levels going up, and things like people being put on waiting lists for detox, and that is never good to have people in that situation,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan noted Gov. Charlie Baker’s efforts to address opioid addiction and the legislation the governor recently signed to combat prescription opioid abuse.

“We have been following Gov. Baker’s attention to this issue and it is right in line with our vision,” Sullivan said. “We want to bring healing to the region. We hope to be a beacon in the community, a safe place where people can go and receive help.”

Based in Brentwood, Tennessee, Addiction Campuses provides comprehensive drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs that go beyond the standard 30-day plan and treat people struggling with addiction “medically, mentally and spiritually.”

“We believe in implementing a higher level of balance in our clients,” Clements said. “Social, spiritual, economic success — in every aspect of their daily lives.”

Sullivan said the company operates three facilities in the country — Turning Point Recovery in Southaven, Miss., The Treehouse Rehab outside of Dallas, and Spring 2 Life, a faith-based recovery center for men in Woodbury, Tenn.

According to its website, the company offers drug and alcohol intervention, clinical addiction assessments, medically supervised drug detox, residential and outpatient programs, Christian drug rehab, drug addiction counseling and ongoing long-term recovery care.

Sullivan noted that the plan for the facility in Plainfield and Cummington is to offer comprehensive rehabilitation programs, some of which will include adventure therapy, which helps individuals face interpersonal, social, and psychological challenges through outdoor challenges and activities such as adventure courses, skiing, and even “catapult” bungee.

“We find that oftentimes the addicted mind has a tendency to be more adventurous and that often requires an extreme or physically active approach to reach the underlying issues behind their addiction,” Clements said.

If the project moves forward, the new owners plan renovations.

“We are looking for local contractors in the area as we have millions of dollars in renovations to do,” Sullivan said. “If all goes well, fingers crossed, renovations will begin as soon as we can and we hope to be open by late summer.”

The company also will look to hire chefs, housekeepers, nurses, therapists, administrative managers, clinical directors, medical directors and psychiatrists.

“It is tough living out here in the hilltowns, so hiring local people will help. Not to mention that they will be the largest tax base in Plainfield,” said David Alvord, assistant fire chief in Plainfield. “I am told that people are mostly happy about them moving in here.

“We think it is a really good fit for us and we are also looking forward to being good neighbors to the community,” Sullivan said.

Fran Ryan can be reached at: Fryan.gazette@gmail.com.