For Immediate Release - July 21, 2016

Governor Baker, Lt. Governor Polito and State Officials Expand Addiction Program for Women at Taunton State Hospital

New beds added to Specialized Addictions Program for Substance Use Disorders

TAUNTON – Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, together with state and local officials, officially opened the second phase of the Women’s Recovery from Addictions Program (WRAP) at Taunton State Hospital today adding 30 new beds.  The WRAP is the first state-operated addiction service program that provides civilly committed women with addictions access to comprehensive substance use disorder treatment, rather than jail time. 

“Ending the long disputed practice of committing women to prison at MCI Framingham is an important step toward providing women with the proper treatment as they begin the path to recovery,” said Governor Charlie Baker.  “Earlier this year, I was honored to sign landmark legislation including the first law in the nation to limit first time adult opioid prescriptions to a seven-day supply, and other important prevention and education provisions recommended by our opioid working group.”

“Women with substance use disorders deserve treatment, support and recovery services in the same dignified medical setting that individuals with any other chronic condition receive,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, who also attended the February opening. “I am happy to stand here again and witness the progress this administration has made in eliminating a 25-year-old practice that should have never existed.”

On January 25, 2016, Governor Baker signed into law An Act Relative to Civil Commitments for Alcohol and Substance Use Disorders. The law ensures that when women are civilly committed by the court for treatment under Chapter 123, Section 35 of the Massachusetts General Laws, that they receive the treatment in a therapeutic setting rather than in a prison.  The 30 beds that opened this month are in addition to the 15 beds that opened, and began accepting patients, this past February. As of July, 44 women have been treated and discharged from the program.

“The WRAP program provides a safe place for women to detox while receiving clinical supervision, individual and group therapy, education and access to medication therapy,” 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. “But most importantly, each woman will leave the program with an individualized discharge plan, so she can continue her treatment and recovery in her community with strong supports.”

“Under the Governor’s Leadership, our operating and capital resources are being strategically invested to support the construction of critical capital projects like the treatment units at Taunton State Hospital and the on-going operating costs of essential programs like the Women’s Recovery from Addictions Program,” said Kristen Lepore, Secretary for Administration and Finance. “Good policy drives a good budget and the funding to open and operate these beds is a perfect example of good policy driving the budget decision making process.”

Major renovations to create the new units, which are located in a 17,100 square foot former DMH inpatient unit, took 9 months to complete.  The new, 30-bed WRAP includes a north and south unit with double and single bedrooms, private treatment space, a dining room, a day room, a lounge, a fitness room, offices, a secure intake area, and secure outdoor recreation areas. The renovations cost approximately $15 million. The Women’s Recovery from Addiction Program will bring 130 full-time employees to the Taunton area.

In addition to the 45 beds at Taunton, 28 beds were added at Shattuck State Hospital earlier this year to treat women committed under Section 35.

The Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) budget signed by Governor Baker earlier this month included $171 million in opioid prevention services, which includes $13 million in funding to support the WRAP program. The Baker-Polito Administration also filed for an additional $5 million worth of supplemental funding to combat the opioid epidemic this fiscal year.