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Behavioral Health Network Launches New Opioid Treatment Program in Partnership with Holyoke Health Center

Behavioral Health Network, Inc. (BHN) has launched a new program in partnership with Holyoke Health Center and the HEALing (Helping to End Addiction Long-Term) Communities Study to help those struggling with opioid dependence. This new treatment program is located at BHN City Clinic, 235 Maple Street, Holyoke.

BHN City Clinic now offers methadone treatment through its Opioid Treatment Program with admissions scheduled daily for individuals 18 and older. Holyoke Health Center will continue to offer buprenorphine and injectable naltrexone to aid those in recovery.

This new program provides medication-assisted treatment seven days a week in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies to provide a holistic approach to the treatment of substance use disorders. The Clinic is open Monday to Friday, 5:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and Dosing Hours are Monday to Friday, 5:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 7:00 a.m. -10:00 a.m.

BHN’s President and CEO Steve Winn said, “We are pleased to be playing a role in expanding opioid treatment in collaboration with these two important partners. Opioid addiction continues to plague our communities and the new Holyoke clinic allows BHN to provide more access to medication-assisted treatment to more people in need of assistance.

Dr. Ruth Potee, Medical Director for substance use disorders at BHN, said, “Access to the new clinic will help save lives as the data is clear that the use of medication to treat substance use disorders is effective. This clinic will offer holistic services in addressing opioid misuse, expanding these services beyond our current clinic on Liberty Street in Springfield.”

The HEALing Communities Study aims to reduce opioid overdose deaths by 40 percent over three years. Holyoke is one of the first communities to initiate the study with a coalition of local partners.

The HEALing Communities Study is a national program that was launched by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to investigate how tools for preventing and treating opioid misuse and Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) are most effective at the local level. The program tests the impact of an integrated set of evidence-based practices across health care, behavioral health, justice and other community-based settings.

The Study is partnering with 67 communities highly affected by the opioid crisis in four states to look at the effectiveness of coordinated systems of care designed to increase the number of individuals receiving medication to treat OUD, increase the distribution of naloxone, and reduce high-risk opioid prescribing.

According to Holyoke’s HCS coalition, “From stories of success and demand at the Providence Behavioral Health Hospital OTP, the desire of patients to be initiated on methadone at Holyoke Medical Center, and the recognition of existing transportation barriers to treatment, Holyoke HEAL Coalition members outlined the need for an additional OTP and came to the table with a plan in a matter of weeks.

“The downtown location of the OTP is in an area of Holyoke well known for high-quality healthcare from Holyoke Health Center and behavioral health services at BHN City Clinic. In addition to this, a drive-time analysis from the HEAL team highlighted that with the opening of the BHN City Clinic OTP, all the residence locations of those who suffered a fatal opioid overdose from 2017-2019, are now within a five-minute or less drive time (walking distance) to methadone treatment within Holyoke. Enhanced accessibility to methadone treatment, as well as partnerships with comprehensive behavioral and health care services, will assist in streamlining the continuum of care, and allow those who desire treatment for opioid use disorder to be more successful in their path to recovery.”

In addition to Holyoke, other participating communities in Massachusetts are Bourne and Sandwich; Brockton; Gloucester; Holyoke; Lowell; Plymouth; Salem; and Shirley and Townsend. Learn more at https://heal.nih.gov/research/research-to-practice/healing-communities.

According to Jay Breines, CEO of the Holyoke Health Center, “BHN’s Opioid Treatment Program is the fulfillment of a long-term effort to reopen a downtown methadone facility in Holyoke. An earlier program on Elm Street was closed over 20 years ago, and the opioid epidemic has only gotten worse since then.”

“BHN’s incredibly important new effort will support Holyoke Health Center’s Center for Recovery and Support (CRS) that has been providing buprenorphine, injectable naltrexone and other medical services in support of people in need throughout our area,” said Tammi Kozuch, CRS’s Director. “Our staff efforts will be even more successful now that we have the active collaboration of the Opioid Treatment Program next door. This will help save lives.”

For more information about the new BHN City Clinic program, call (413) 532-0389. Most insurance plans are accepted.

BHN offers a full continuum of care and services for those in addiction recovery. Recovery programs include acute treatment (detox), residential recovery homes, clinical stabilization, outpatient treatment, recovery coaching, and Driver Alcohol Education services.