Brien Center in North Adams suspends daily outpatient addiction treatment program

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NORTH ADAMS — A daily outpatient treatment program for recovering addicts at the Brien Center in North Adams has been suspended due to low enrollment.

In place of the Day Treatment program, the agency is pledging to design new programs tailored to the needs of the Northern Berkshire recovery community.

The addiction day treatment program was formerly operated, for two years, by the Brien Center under the Neighborhood for Health at Berkshire Medical Center's North Adams Campus.

After the grant funding ran out, the Brien Center decided to continue the program at its own location on American Legion Drive for the past year before deciding to suspend it.

"We weren't able to sustain an enrollment that would help us to meet operating costs, so we decided to shift gears," said Megan Eldridge Wroldson, director of the Adult Outpatient Services Division at the Brien Center. "It was a worthy effort and I'm glad that three years ago we had the collaboration with Berkshire Health Systems to start the program."

The day treatment program was aimed at people still new to recovery but no longer in a residential treatment setting — such as those leaving the McGee Recovery Center or Clinical Stabilization Services Unit operated by Berkshire Health Systems.

The topics of the daily group program, which ran from noon to 12:30 p.m., were focused around the needs of someone new to recovery and ranged from relapse prevention to building networks.

But the enrollment was insufficient.

"When enrollment is extremely low, we're not really providing a group setting that people can benefit from," Wroldson said.

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Wendy Penner, the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition's director of prevention and wellness, said "it's something we've been working with them on for quite a while."

"They've worked very hard to not close the service, that's my perception," Penner said.

Instead, the nonprofit will explore alternatives in the coming weeks, such as holding group sessions at different times in the day and for different subsets of the community.

"We want to keep all pathways to treatment open," Wroldson said.

She also stressed that the program is only being suspended, and could be brought back if deemed necessary.

The Brien Center will continue to host an addiction day treatment program in Pittsfield, which runs the full day from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and has "pretty robust" regular attendance.

The North Adams location will also continue to offer a number of addiction treatment services, such as prescribing medication-assisted treatment, individual therapy, and groups for those receiving suboxone treatment.

The Brien Center is able to bill most insurance companies and, in rare cases where it isn't, the nonprofit uses Department of Public Health funds to offset the cost of treatment, Wroldson said.

Information about the Brien Center's programs throughout Berkshire County can be found at briencenter.org

Adam Shanks can be reached at ashanks@berkshireeagle.com, at @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter, or 413-629-4517.


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