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Business partnership will establish drop-in center in region still short on beds

August 1, 2016
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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When Recovery Centers of America (RCA) this fall opens what will then become its largest addiction treatment center, on a former hospital campus in Danvers, Mass., the site will include a drop-in center open to anyone seeking treatment information—regardless of any potential for placement at RCA. The service is being made possible via an agreement announced last month between the Northeast/Middle Atlantic treatment chain and Wicked Sober, an intervention and referral organization that has partnered with numerous treatment centers in its nearly three years of existence.

Wicked Sober founder Mike Duggan indicates to Addiction Professional that his company will continue to work with other treatment organizations in searching for the best options for individuals in need. Brad Greenstein, RCA's executive director for the New England region, adds that while the two entities have had advanced business discussions, and RCA has acquired some intellectual property of Wicked Sober, the two organizations remain separate entities.

Both individuals say the intent here is not to establish referral resources that steer consumers and families only to one provider (this has been the feared outcome among some in the field from other business deals that have involving large treatment organizations and marketing/referral entities).

“There is no exclusivity with Wicked Sober and RCA,” says Greenstein.

In establishing a treatment organization with a mission of allowing more Northeast and Middle Atlantic residents to enter a continuum of care closer to home, RCA leaders say they saw a logical partner in that effort in Wicked Sober. Duggan started the organization with the thought of improving options that he found to be limited in his own recovery, as he recalled being told time and again to call the next day to see if a detox bed would become available.

“Mike created an urgency around helping families,” says Greenstein. He adds that Duggan's efforts have helped to expose the myth that someone “needs to want treatment” in order to be helped effectively.

Drop-in center

The planned drop-in center in the Danvers facility (the treatment center is scheduled to open Oct. 1) could offer an important option in communities where local police have tried to reach out to help opioid addicts but do not have the resources to assist all the individuals who might come through the door at the police department.

Duggan says the center is expected to be staffed by both clinicians and recovery support specialists. The staff will be able to determine whether someone in need requires an intervention, treatment from RCA, or a referral to another service provider.

“We're going to focus on the best option for the individual,” Duggan says. “It's not always going to be RCA.”

The center's hours will officially be determined once operators are able to evaluate the community need and the busiest times, he says.

RCA indicated that it also has been impressed with other community partnerships into which Wicked Sober has entered, mainly with a goal of addressing the opioid crisis. One such project that will be piloted in two Middlesex County communities in Massachusetts will emphasize communication between ambulance companies and service providers that can assist high-risk opioid users in order to avoid a pattern of repeat emergency calls.

Duggan says Massachusetts continues to lack the necessary bed capacity to meet the overall need for treatment, and he welcomes the arrival into the region of RCA, particularly since it pays much attention to investing in the quality of the patient experience.