Blog: News & Views from the Field

Knowledge can be empowering. Whether you are seeking recovery for yourself or someone else, we hope you find our blog topics helpful. Check back often or subscribe today.

Celebrating Progress and Looking Back at National Recovery Month 2017

Every September, the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) sponsors National Recovery Month to raise awareness and understanding of mental health and substance use disorders, and celebrate people who are living in recovery. As we head into October, we wanted to reflect on Recovery Month and the importance of educating the public about drug addiction, treatment and recovery.

Continue reading
107 Hits

What Is Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) And Why Do Our Prisons Need It?

Last month, our Vice President of Clinical Development, Dr. Romas Buivydas, and State Director for Massachusetts’ Correctional Services, Earl Warren attended the American Correctional Association (ACA) conference in St. Louis, Missouri. While there, they led a workshop designed to educate the audience of non-clinical corrections professionals about Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for addiction and substance use disorders.

While MAT has been a strong component of recovery for individuals struggling with opioid addiction for many years, it is relatively new to the correctional field. Medication-assisted treatment has not been widely adopted in the prison system as of yet, but the tide is changing. Today, 21 jail re-entry programs are working to incorporate it.

Oftentimes, when it is administered to inmates, line staff does not fully understand the science of addiction and the medications available for treating it. MAT differs from traditional abstinence-based treatments in a variety of ways. Its primary role is to ease the symptoms of withdrawal, reduce cravings and stabilize co-occurring disorders such as anxiety or depression. It also reduces drug use, protects against overdoses, prevents dangerous injections and reduces criminal behavior.

There are three different options for MAT – methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone. Each is administered differently, and treatment is based upon an individual’s use history, mental health status and unique circumstances. This treatment should only be given in addition to traditional recovery work and therapy.

Due to the client base and secure environment, deploying MAT in the prison system has different layers of complexity, but programs should seriously consider the positive effects of treatment. Without it, inmates suffering cravings have no relief. During this period of abstinence, inmates lose their tolerance to their preferred substance, thereby increasing the likelihood of an overdose when they return to using drugs after their release. The likelihood that a client treated with MAT in prison will seek continued treatment upon release is far higher than an inmate who only received abstinence-based services.

By using medication and therapeutic approaches, correctional facilities can prevent overdose, treat struggling inmates with every tool available and help people transition to their communities with a strong sense of sobriety, confidence and connections to treatment.

To learn more about medication-assisted treatment and Spectrum’s work in corrections, visit our website today. Stay tuned for an in-depth look at the three different types of medication available to treat addiction in a future blog in the coming weeks.

Continue reading
278 Hits

An Inside Look: Clinical Stabilization

Detoxification is often a necessary first step for individuals seeking help for an addiction. Once detoxification is completed, it’s very important to continue treatment for a period of time in order to build a solid foundation for sustaining long-term recovery. Spectrum provides a range of continuing care options, including two programs offering clinical stabilization services (CSS).

CSS is designed to stabilize clients, engage them in treatment and facilitate placement to the next level of care. These services are available to privately insured individuals and Department of Public Health (DPH) clients.

The typical length of stay for clients in our clinical stabilization program ranges from 14-18 days for those with private insurance and up to 28 days for Medicaid recipients. Length of stay also depends on the needs of each client.

Upon admission, clients undergo a medical evaluation to ensure that they are medically stable and eligible for program participation – that is, having no substances in their system and not experiencing any withdrawal symptoms.

During program participation, clients attend two group sessions per day for an hour each, seven days a week. These educational sessions cover a variety of topics including overdose prevention, how to resist cravings, coping skills and relapse prevention. In addition to group sessions, we require each client to meet individually with their counselor for at least one hour per day. Interdisciplinary team meetings are held at least two times per week to review and evaluate each client’s treatment plan and assess their progress. We also encourage family involvement throughout the treatment process.

Spectrum recognizes that lasting recovery is an ongoing process and that treatment is only the first step to a permanent lifestyle change. Therefore, one of the most important components of the CSS program is the development of a continuing recovery plan to support the individual during early recovery and beyond.

Our seamless continuum allows clients to remain onsite while transitioning from inpatient detoxification to clinical stabilization to residential treatment, as needed. Spectrum also operates a network of outpatient treatment centers across the state, as well as peer recovery support centers in Worcester, Marlborough and Lawrence.

Stay tuned for an upcoming blog featuring information about our residential treatment programs.

If you or someone you love needs help for an addiction, Spectrum Health Systems provides the support you need, when you need it. Learn more on our website or call us at (800) 366-7732 for inpatient services and (800) 464-9555 extension 1161 for outpatient treatment.

Continue reading
357 Hits

An Inside Look: Inpatient Detoxification

For most people with substance use disorders, the first step to addiction recovery is detoxification or “detox” – the medical process of removing toxic substances from the bloodstream through abstaining from alcohol or drugs until it is completely free of toxins. It sounds simple, but the concept is especially daunting for somebody in the throes of addiction. To understand this process a bit better, this blog provides an inside look at Spectrum’s inpatient detoxification program.

Continue reading
656 Hits

Demystifying intake: You do not need drugs in your system to be admitted to detox

The world of addiction is ripe with misconceptions and myths, but one particularly harmful one we’ve heard time and time again is the belief that you need to have drugs in your system to be admitted to treatment. This may cause vulnerable individuals struggling with addiction to seek out their drug of choice one last time. But that one last time could be fatal.

Continue reading
802 Hits

Help, Not Handcuffs: Finding an Ally in Blue

They’re some of the first to arrive at the scene when there is a critical overdose, a person in need, or a troublesome situation. While some find comfort with the men and women on the front lines of the opioid epidemic, it can be a contentious relationship for others.

For someone struggling with an addiction, asking for help in general can be daunting, but asking for help from the police sounds like a one-way ticket to jail. On the contrary, many people suffering from addiction and searching for help are finding some of their best allies in their local police force, and that relationship is spreading around the country.

Continue reading
1070 Hits

How to Recognize “Sticks and Stones” in Your Home

While many of our blog posts revolve around addiction and recovery, today’s post focuses on another serious problem that takes place in many homes – and that problem is domestic violence.

Spectrum Health Systems is well known for its addiction treatment programs, but many don’t realize that we also offer a range of programming that tackle various related issues, such as domestic violence, impaired driving, anger management and sex solicitation.

Continue reading
1133 Hits

It Helps, and It Hurts: Social Media and Addiction Recovery

Alongside many other areas of our lives that have been complexly affected by social media, addiction recovery has been wading through its muddy waters in recent years. Social media has become a huge part of our day-to-day lives: it is where we hear our news, find our information, remain connected to friends and family and seek out new communities of like-minded people.

Continue reading
2259 Hits

This Valentine’s Day Say, ‘I Love … Me’

It's Valentine's Day, and love is in the air. Yet February 14th can be tough for a lot of people, especially those in recovery who face a unique set of challenges on this day of celebrating romance.

Continue reading
1255 Hits

A Day in the Life at The New England Recovery Center™ Part Two: What to Expect at NERC’s Inpatient Addiction Treatment Program

In follow-up to our overview of the New England Recovery Center (NERC) detox program, we are offering a glimpse into a day in the life at our inpatient addiction treatment program at the Charles J. Faris Recovery Center - where clients typically go after a successful detox. Pursuing treatment for an addiction is a brave decision, and there are a number of complexities that go into choosing the right option. To help address common questions and concerns, we’re sharing what you can expect here with us.

The New England Recovery Center™, a subsidiary of New England's leading addiction treatment provider Spectrum Health Systems, offers medically monitored detoxification and inpatient addiction treatment in beautiful, state-of-the-art facilities, specifically geared towards individuals with private insurance.

Residential treatment clients typically stay with us for two to four weeks. The length of stay is determined by a number of factors including medical and clinical needs, insurance coverage and selected programming during a stay.


Whether you are arriving from our in-house detox program or not, a member of the NERC admissions team will begin by assessing your individual needs. On day one, we take a look at your current situation and develop an individualized treatment plan addressing your current and most pressing issues.

A nursing or clinical assessment will be performed upon arrival and your valuables - including money, cell phones, jewelry, etc. - will be sent home with loved ones or stored in our complimentary safe. You’ll be shown to your room, encouraged to meet the staff and your peers, and make yourself at home.


Embarking on a journey toward sobriety is tough, and we have worked hard to create an environment conducive to success for our clients. Our rooms are warm, welcoming and modern, and we offer a variety of on-site amenities including a fitness center, yoga, massage therapy, spiritual and religious services, common areas, onsite laundry, community telephone access and healthy meals.


During your stay at the NERC, you will follow a structured daily schedule. This clinically driven approach utilizes evidence-based practices and treatment models to maximize your success. Our schedule includes a variety of group and individual sessions diversified to include internal exploration through art, mindfulness and journaling as well as education and skill-development related to the effects of trauma and substances on the brain and body.

Some of these sessions include Art Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and our Family Renewal Program in which a Family Engagement Therapist works with you and your loved ones to educate, prepare for life after treatment and make strides toward improving relationships.

Clinical Care:

Upon admission, you will have been assigned a clinician who will be your point person for the remainder of your stay. The role of this clinician is to provide support and guidance as you work together to develop the best possible recovery plan for you specifically and ensure that you receive all the services needed to address your needs. Your clinician will also work with your loved ones to educate them about addiction and recovery, and how they can help.

You will also work with other members of our team such as the physicians, nurse practitioners, social workers, mental health clinicians and recovery specialists.

Continuing Care:

Residential treatment is just the beginning. Your journey is a lifelong one, and it is critical that you set yourself up for success after discharge. Your clinician will work with you to create a Continuing Care Recovery Plan to help maintain the progress you’ve made in treatment and prevent future relapses. We consider everything including education, housing, legal issues and employment.

To ensure success, former clients access Spectrum’s many outpatient treatment centers for ongoing support and counseling. We also recommend sober houses when warranted.

Our main goals are for you to identify the negative effects of alcohol and other drugs, develop relapse prevention skills and develop an achievable plan to move forward and enjoy the best life possible.

The New England Recovery Center™ is situated on a 25-acre picturesque campus in Westborough, Massachusetts. This classic New England town is located at the crossroads of the Mass Turnpike and the Interstate 495, offering easy access to Boston’s Logan International Airport and T.F. Green Airport in Providence, Rhode Island. Transportation services to the facility are also available upon request.

Any questions? Give us a call at 1 (844) 800 – NERC.

Continue reading
1498 Hits