For-profit addiction treatment center opening in former Swift River Academy in Cummington


CUMMINGTON — A Tennesee-based drug and alcohol addiction treatment company plans to open a 600-acre facility in the hilltowns just to the east of Berkshire County.

Operated by the private for-profit Freedom Healthcare of America, which does business as Addiction Campuses, the 12-building dual diagnosis addiction treatment center at Cummington's former Swift River Academy campus will offer an array of services and place an emphasis on the nature that surrounds it.

"It is broad in terms of the number of potential treatment protocols we can use because we know the cookie-cutter approach [to treatment] doesn't work," said Andrew McKenna, a marketing director for Addiction Campuses.

The Addiction Campus at Swift River will be formally opened during a celebration on Wednesday that will feature several speakers. A representative from Gov. Charlie Baker's administration will also be present, according to an announcement from Addiction Campuses.

The facility will begin operation on Oct. 3 with 48 beds and plans to expand to about 120 beds, according to McKenna.

The campus at Swift River will offer an array of drug and alcohol addiction treatment services, according to its website, including detoxification and dual-diagnosis mental health treatment. It will be open to those suffering from addiction around the country, including in Western Massachusetts and throughout New England.

"We get more calls from that area than any other part of the country, so we just felt the calling to help," said Brent Clements, the CEO of Addiction Campuses.

In the four years from 2012 to 2015, an estimated 98 people have died from opioid overdoses in Berkshire County, according to the most recent Department of Health — more than twice than the 49 who died in the previous 12 years combined. Statewide, addiction statistics have similarly increased in recent years.

The Academy at Swift River, a boarding school for boys, closed in 2013.

"We look at facilities all over the country and kind of just fell in love when we looked at this place 18 months ago," Clements said. "It's going to be a great place for our clients to heal."

Addiction Campuses is based in Tennessee and claims that it goes "beyond the standard 30-day plan" for a sustainable recovery. According to its website, the cost of treatment at Addiction Campuses varies depending on each patient's situation and need and is often covered by insurance.

Brian Sullivan, director of public relations for Addiction Campuses, said Cummington has welcomed them with open arms.

"Sometimes you'll get people that say 'not in my back yard,' but not there," he said. "Everyone has been supportive."

Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376.


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