Since 1969, Spectrum’s mission, vision and values have guided our work and shaped our direction. Spectrum’s success is a credit to the inspiring commitment of the individuals we serve, the unwavering dedication of our staff and the humbling generosity of our donors.

Here’s a look back at our journey over time …

Originally known as “Challenge House,” Spectrum was responsible for establishing one of the first therapeutic communities in the country for the treatment of substance use disorders. The program opened in Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1969 and was renamed “Spectrum House” before moving to Westborough in 1979.

Throughout the 1980s, Spectrum led the movement to develop a comprehensive continuum of care in Massachusetts capable of providing seamless services to individuals at various stages of recovery. Over time, Spectrum added inpatient detoxification, clinical stabilization services, outpatient counseling, Medication for Substance Use Disorders, peer recovery support, and mental health services.

In 1993, Spectrum entered a period of significant growth. Through diversification and acquisition, Spectrum expanded into other states while adding specialized programs for women, criminal offenders and at-risk youth. In 1997, Spectrum changed its name to Spectrum Health Systems to better represent the array of services being provided.

Two historic events occurred in 2015. First, Spectrum launched the New England Recovery Center (NERC) exclusively for private pay and commercially insured clients. Located on Spectrum’s 25-acre treatment campus in Westborough, Massachusetts, NERC offers onsite detoxification and individualized residential treatment for both men and women. Additional amenities include personal fitness, yoga, massage therapy and more. Spectrum also opened a brand new, state-of-the-art inpatient treatment facility – known as the Charles J. Faris Recovery Center – on a hill overlooking the Westborough Campus. We continually open new outpatient treatment centers to address the increased need for services throughout Massachusetts.

As of today, Spectrum operates more than 100 programs in community and institutional settings throughout Massachusetts, Georgia and Virginia. Services are performed under contracts with a wide variety of private and public sector clients, including federal, state and local governments, major insurance carriers, employee assistance programs, private corporations, philanthropies and the United Way.

At the core of Spectrum’s successful history has been its ability and desire to keep pace with the growing research and information on the treatment of substance use disorders. We’ve adapted to an ever-changing service delivery system while remaining committed to our core principles. In the years ahead, Spectrum will continue to further its mission by enhancing and expanding its programs, and building better lives, one step at a time.

Watch below for a look back at the evolution of Spectrum Health Systems as we celebrate our 50th anniversary.

“Recovery helps you love yourself again. It’s about second chances, an opportunity to re-write the future and lead a happy life. I have dreams now. I want to renew relationships and get my loved ones back.”

“I remember thinking that I could handle it…that everything was okay. My life was controlled by drugs. One day, I hit rock bottom. I felt utterly hopeless and I knew I had to make a change.”

“The staff at Spectrum taught me ways to cope with everyday issues. I’m beginning to feel powerful, like I’m in control. I realize that I don’t know all the answers and that it’s okay to ask for help.”

“I’ve grown a lot since coming to Spectrum. I’m learning how to cope with everyday issues. I also take responsibility for my actions, which is definitely something new for me.”

“I entered Spectrum’s detox at the lowest point in my life. While I was there, I took a tour of the residential program. I decided to try it because I did not want to go back to my old way of life. Now I’m in recovery, working and making plans for my future – something I never dreamed possible.”

“When I was drinking, I thought I was only hurting myself. But when you’re in recovery, you realize how your actions hurt the people you love the most – your family and friends.”