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Spectrum Health Systems


Spectrum Health Systems Spectrum Health Systems Review

Spectrum Health Systems is a non-profit mental health and substance abuse treatment facility located between Worcester and Boston in Westborough, Massachusetts. Spectrum was founded in 1969 and was one of the first substance abuse addiction treatment facilities in the United States. Since then, Spectrum as expanded immensely and has become a leading provider of addiction services in New England.

Accommodations and Food

Spectrum’s detox, residential, transitional support programs are all housed in separate buildings on Spectrum’s 25-acre campus. The residential building has 60 beds for both men and women. The rooms are dormitory-like with two to four beds each. When clients begin, they share a room with one other individual. As they progress through treatment and are granted more independence, they move into rooms with three to four beds.

The residential building has a kitchen where An outside food service prepares all the food for the adult, young adult and transitional support buildings. Three meals a day are served from a set menu—though accommodations will be made for special dietary needs and restrictions. The kitchen also has a salad bar and snack station where clients can serve themselves light fare—like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fruit, and cereal—throughout the day.

Both the transitional support and young adult buildings are similar to the residential building—each equipped with the same type of kitchen, dining room and media rooms. The transitional support program is split into two separate houses—the men’s with 20 beds and the women’s with 15 beds. The building for young adults has 16 beds with two twin beds per gender-specific room.

Each treatment facility has multiple media rooms equipped with TVs, couches and chairs for clients. Clients are only permitted iPods or personal music devices for the first four months, after which time cell phones are permitted.

Treatment and Staff

The treatment process at Spectrum begins with an initial assessment to determine the client’s condition. If the client is in need of stabilization, they are transferred to the detox wing where a four-to-six day program focuses on treating withdrawal symptoms. Spectrum does not specifically offer dual diagnosis support. If the counselors and nurses believe that a client could have a potential co-occurring disorder, they are referred to a local hospital or outside counselor.

The residential program lasts six to nine months and only accepts clients who have either completed the detox program or who are otherwise stabilized. When the client enters the program, they are assigned a counselor who works with them one-on-one throughout their entire stay.

The program is 12-step based and requires clients to attend on-site AA/NA meetings. Assistance is offered to help clients find sponsors. Treatment consists of regular group and individual sessions which employ a CBT approach. The group focus on addiction education and sharing on topics pertinent to the needs of the clients, such as relapse prevention and PTSD.

While in the residential program, clients are on a strict schedule and are required to help with chores. After four months of treatment, clients are encouraged to go back to work or school while still continuing their recovery work. Spectrum also helps clients find housing, so that upon discharge, they are not only financially stable but also have a place to live.

The program for young adults lasts from six to nine months, serves 18 to 25 year old men and can accommodate a maximum of 16 clients total. The program structure is the same as the adult residential providing group and individual therapy. Once considered stable enough, clients are encouraged to begin attending school again while continuing their recovery work.

Spectrum offers five locations in the Westborough area for their outpatient program, each lasting as long as the individual requires. Clients attend both individual and group sessions, with the group meetings usually hosting five to 10 clients. Discussions incorporate education and topics like coping skills, the 12 steps and relapse prevention.

Outpatient clients are given access to Suboxone treatment when needed. Thirty-day prescriptions are given and are only refilled when the client meets the expectations of their counselors. Clients are not permitted to use other substances during the Suboxone program and are regularly urine-tested. Program length is determined by each client’s needs.

The facility also has a series of programs dedicated to court-ordered adolescents called REACH (Recovery though Education, Adventure, Commitment and Health). This is an adventure-based residential program exclusively for adolescent males. It offers life skills training, counseling and drug education. If the client is enrolled during the school year, the program also offers academic instruction.

Bright Futures is another residential program for males from ages 12 to 14 which focuses on providing treatment addressing issues that cause relapse. The program integrates family members and helps them establish a safe environment for clients to transition back into home life.

Spectrum’s short-term detention program services up to 20 adolescent females and incorporates counseling, education and life skills training.

Spectrum’s residential facilities do not have a doctor on site, but they do have a number of nurses who help supervise the clients. The programs also employ LADCs, some who specialize in adolescent substance abuse treatment.


Although the rehab does not have formal aftercare, the program does check back in with clients every 30 days to make sure they are staying sober and continuing their work with local AA or NA groups.
There is also a family program at Spectrum which consists of individual meetings with counselors. Family members can meet with the counselors one-on-one if they are struggling with the effects of the client’s addiction issues.

In Summary

Spectrum offers a number of treatment services—which are free—any of which would be great option for clients who cannot afford to pay for rehab. The length of the residential and outpatient programs allows the client plenty of time to heal and adjust to sobriety and daily life. Their comprehensive adolescent programs make them a stand-out choice for young people in need of recovery and rehabilitation in Massachusetts.

Spectrum Health Services Location

10 Mechanic St, Suite 302
Worchester, MA 01608

Spectrum Health Services Cost

Free. Reach Spectrum Health Services by phone at (508) 792-5400 or by email at donna.pellegrino@spectrumhealthsystems.org. Find Spectrum Health Services on Facebook and Google+

Photo courtesy of John Phelan (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons (resized and cropped)

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