For Immediate Release - February 04, 2016

Lt. Governor Polito, State Officials Open First State Addictions Program at Taunton State Hospital

New Unit to Feature Specialized Addictions Program for Substance Misuse

TAUNTON – Today, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders and Department of Mental Health Commissioner Joan Mikula officially opened the first state inpatient service that will provide comprehensive treatment for women with addictions who had previously been committed to MCI Framingham. The Women’s Recovery from Addictions Program (WRAP) will officially accept patients beginning February 9th, ending a long-standing practice of incarcerating women instead of providing appropriate treatment in a hospital.

“It has taken the Commonwealth over 25 years to follow through on a promise to give women help for their alcohol and drug addiction so they have a shot at recovery,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Opening our first inpatient service will offer much needed options and new hope for women and families and now is the time for the legislature to pass additional reforms to target the drivers of this public health crisis.”

“Drug misuse is not a crime. It’s an illness and we need to treat it as such,” said Marylou Sudders, Secretary for Health and Human Services and chair of the Governor’s Opioid Working Group that recommended the civil commitment process changes this past spring. “Providing real treatment for women with addictions offers a better chance for recovery. Since 1987 the Commonwealth has stated its commitment to ending this practice. Finally, the day has come.”

On January 25, 2016, in a historic moment, Governor Baker signed into law An Act Relative to Civil Commitments for Alcohol and Substance Use Disorders. The law ensures that when a court civilly commits a woman for treatment under Chapter 123, Section 35, the woman receives the treatment in a therapeutic setting rather than in a prison. WRAP, located in a secure, locked wing of the Cain Building on the grounds of Taunton State Hospital, will open with 15 beds, with another 30 beds coming on line this summer.

“The Women’s Recovery from Addictions Program will provide a safe place for women to detox while receiving clinical supervision, individual and group therapy, education and access to medication therapy,” said Joan Mikula, Commissioner of Mental Health. “But most important, each woman will leave the program with an individualized discharge plan, so she can continue her treatment and recovery in her community.”

In addition to the 15 treatment beds, WRAP is home to a kitchen, exam room, medication room and screened in porch for fresh air.  The WRAP project took three months to complete and cost $922,000.