On Tuesday, March 30th, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey joined Spectrum Health Systems, along with other elected officials, corrections and addiction treatment professionals at the Doubletree Hotel in Westborough, Massachusetts to celebrate the successes of the innovative Recovery Support Navigator (RSN) program.
The RSN model, funded initially through a grant awarded to Spectrum in 2014 by the Attorney General’s Office and expanded through funding from the Massachusetts Bureau of Substance Abuse Services, pairs offenders preparing for release from state prison with individuals trained to provide non-clinical peer support services as these offenders reenter society.
Recovery support navigators engage, educate and support individuals in need of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) while helping address their housing, education, employment, healthcare and transportation needs with the ultimate goal of decreasing relapse and recidivism. The RSN program has enrolled 229 participants since it began two years ago, far exceeding its initial goal of 150. More than 100 participants have accessed MAT in the community and 100% report having had all their reentry needs addressed through this program.
“This first-of-its-kind program highlights the need to treat the disease of addiction regardless of where an individual may be in their recovery,” said Peter Paolantonio, Spectrum Health Systems Chief Clinical Officer. “Introducing medication-assisted treatment and a peer support system prior to release ensures an offender has the tools they need when they’re back in the community, a vulnerable time when many are prone to relapse.”
Spectrum Health Systems was uniquely qualified to lead this initiative having 25 years of experience providing offender-specific treatment in criminal justice facilities combined with 47 years of experience providing evidence-based addiction treatment services in community-based residential and outpatient settings.
“In Massachusetts, there’s no longer any doubt that we’ve got an unprecedented public health crisis on our hand,” said Attorney General Maura Healey. “But we’ve also got a great team working to fight it, and that’s what makes me hopeful. It will take time, but I know we’ll get there. Because we have partners like Spectrum on the front lines. Thanks to this organization, people are on their way to living healthy, happy and productive lives.”
The speaking portion of the event concluded with personal stories from clients who participated in the program. One such participant summed up the impact of the program in her closing thoughts, “My name is Shannon, and I’m a grateful recovering addict. I refuse to be a statistic. My son will not bury me due to an overdose.”
Based in Worcester, Massachusetts, Spectrum Health Systems, Inc. is a private, not-for-profit substance abuse and mental health treatment provider. The organization currently treats 80,000 individuals each year through more than 140 programs in community-based settings and correctional institutions throughout Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington State.
Brendan Melican, Public Relations Manager
(508) 792-5400 x7113