The Brien Center Fall 2015 Newsletter is Here!

From the CEO:

Fall is here already! it seems just a short time ago that I was writing a note to all of you welcoming the Spring season. I hope everyone enjoyed quality time with their friends and family over the sum-mer months.

It is been a busy year for our agency and I wanted to highlight one of our newest initiatives! The Brien Center is excited to meet a very important community need by collaborating with Berkshire Health Systems (BHS) and being part of its new “Neighborhood for Health” Program. As part of this program, the Brien Center has started a new Structured Outpatient Addiction Program (SOAP) at the former North Adams Regional Hospital (now a satellite site of BHS) that operates M-F from 9am to 12:30pm for individuals in early recovery. The SOAP Program typically lasts 4-6 weeks and addresses psychological dependence on alcohol and other drugs including opiates.

Our SOAP Program can begin working with those in need within 24 to 48 hours of the referral—critical for individuals at risk of continued use or relapse.

The program works with individuals referred through a higher level of care such as a detox program or can accept individuals currently living in the community who have struggled with relapse or increasing reliance on alcohol and/or drugs.

This new SOAP program, previously only offered at our Pittsfield outpatient site, provides a crucial service to individuals in North County struggling with addiction who wish to keep their families intact, stay close to their support systems, stay in their jobs, re-enter the work force or to avoid re-hospitalization in a detox facility.

No one expects someone with a chronic disease like diabetes to stay in the hospital for 30 days and come out cured. Yet historically, that’s how we’ve treated people with the chronic dis-ease of addiction to alcohol or drugs.

We have seen the impact of addiction on individuals, families and the community. We know it costs lives. I lost a close family member to addiction six years ago.

The system remains heavily weighted towards inpatient care. Current initiatives, fueled by the current opiate crisis and the fear it generates, are driving this growth centered on expanding ac-cess to inpatient detox and rehab programs.

Yes, the system of care is surely suffering from a temporary dearth of capacity for inpatient beds. However I believe the quietly under-emphasized approach to addiction treatment includes prevention, early identification, treatment and recovery support pro-grams in the community.

Comprehensive community based care is the vision shared by Berkshire Health Systems and the Brien Center and the Neighborhood for Health Program is making it a reality.

For more information please contact Program Supervisor Carol Gokhale at 413-664-5540 or Division Director Paul Hickling at 413-629-1255

M. Christine Macbeth, ACSW, LICSW

Chief Executive Officer

»Download the full Brien Center Fall 2015 Newsletter (pdf)