On June 21, 2019, Spectrum Health Systems celebrated its 50th anniversary at the historic Mechanics Hall in Worcester, Massachusetts. The event featured a video tribute recapping Spectrum’s 50-year history, delicious food catered by Peppers Artful Events and the inspirational story of Tony Hoffman, former BMX Elite Pro, Olympic coach, acclaimed speaker and founder of The Freewheel Project.

“Our 50th anniversary is a big milestone and a testament to our dedication to and success in providing access to top-quality evidence-based treatment,” said Kurt Isaacson, President and CEO of Spectrum Health Systems. “In the past half-century Massachusetts has weathered multiple addiction crises, including today’s opioid epidemic. Spectrum Health Systems has worked tirelessly to provide the most effective and accessible treatment to our citizens in need at each point – and we plan to continue. We are taking on the ambitious goal of treating 500,000 more people by 2025 to further combat the issue in New England.”

With locations across Massachusetts, and an additional presence in correctional facilities across the country including Georgia, Virginia and Tennessee, Spectrum’s impact is felt near and wide.

Originally the Challenge House in Methuen, the organization began in 1969 at the height of the drug epidemic of the 1960s. Since its inception, Spectrum has expanded in both geography and programming. Throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s, the company added inpatient detoxification, outpatient counseling and methadone treatment. In 1986, Spectrum became the first community-based addiction treatment center to be accredited by The Joint Commission. In the ‘90s, it formed the corrections and adolescent divisions and broke ground on its Westborough campus. In 2000, it received accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, which it has maintained ever since.

As the need for evidence-based treatment grew, Spectrum reacted with various expansions to reach a wider population of people in need. In 2015, the organization launched its first subsidiary, a private pay, 104-bed inpatient treatment program called the New England Recovery Center. It has also opened three new outpatient facilities in Millbury, Pittsfield and Weymouth in recent years.

Today, Spectrum offers treatment in 18 inpatient and outpatient locations throughout the state, including three peer recovery centers across Massachusetts and has substantially expanded access to treatment by partnering with most major insurance networks.

Its educational arm, Spectrum Education, Training, and Consulting, launched in 2018 and provides a wide range of customized training and technical assistance services for organizations and communities looking to develop their internal knowledge, resources and skills surrounding addiction recovery through staff development or new program implementation.

“Addiction has touched all of us in one way or another,” said David Felper, Board Chair for Spectrum Health Systems. “Being a part of an organization with a deep understanding of the disease and a long-term commitment to treatment is rewarding. I am proud to have been a part of innovative changes such as the construction and opening of the Charles J. Faris Recovery Center and the expansion of Spectrum’s outpatient treatment centers from three to 14 facilities. We’re excited to see what the next 50 years has in store.”

For a historical look back at the evolution of Spectrum Health Systems and to hear a special message from Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, check out our two new videos here.

Photos from Spectrum’s 50th Anniversary Celebration are available here.

To learn more about Spectrum Health Systems, visit www.SpectrumHealthSystems.org or call 1-877-MyRehab. For information about career openings at Spectrum, please visit our careers page.

About Spectrum Health Systems
Based in Worcester, Mass. and founded in 1969, Spectrum Health Systems, Inc. is a private, non-profit substance abuse and mental health treatment provider. Spectrum offers the largest and most complete continuum of addiction treatment in New England -- including inpatient detoxification, residential rehabilitation, outpatient services, medication-assisted treatment and peer recovery support. Spectrum also offers inpatient detoxification and residential treatment for commercially insured and private pay clients through its subsidiary, The New England Recovery Center.

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