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50 Years of Spectrum

As you may have heard, Spectrum Health Systems has been celebrating its 50th anniversary this year! We’ve come a long way since the company’s founding in 1969. As substance abuse has changed over the past 50 years, so too has Spectrum – in order to better treat individuals impacted by substance use disorders.

Let’s look back how the company has evolved and grown since 1969!

In 1969, the drug epidemic of the 1960s had reached its peak when the company opened as “Challenge House” in Lawrence, Massachusetts, thus establishing one of the first therapeutic communities for substance use treatment in the country. After a decade, the organization moved to Westborough and reopened as “Spectrum House.”

As substance use disorders continued to evolve over the course of the 1980s, Spectrum was at the forefront of addiction treatment, developing a comprehensive continuum of care to better serve clients at all stages of recovery. Over the years, Spectrum added inpatient detoxification, clinical stabilization services, outpatient counseling, medication-assisted treatment, peer recovery support and mental health services. Amongst its many successes, Spectrum became the first community-based addiction treatment center to be accredited by the Joint Commission.

The 1990s saw the development of Spectrum’s corrections and adolescent divisions and the creation of specialized programming to address these populations. In 1993, the company entered a period of significant growth while breaking ground to expand the Westborough treatment campus. By 1997, the company changed its name to Spectrum Health Systems to reflect the growing array of services being provided. At the turn of the century, Spectrum Health Systems was accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities and has proudly carried this endorsement ever since.

In 2015, Spectrum created a subsidiary, known as the New England Recovery Center (NERC) to help address the shortage of inpatient treatment options tailored to commercially insured individuals. The New England Recovery Center currently offers 88 beds to private pay and commercially insured clients seeking inpatient detoxification and/or residential treatment. That same year, Spectrum opened a brand new, 104-bed inpatient treatment facility, known as the Charles J. Faris Recovery Center on the Westborough treatment campus.

Spectrum continued its expansion, opening three additional outpatient locations in just one year. Today, Spectrum operates fourteen outpatient treatment centers located throughout Massachusetts. Services include all forms of medication-assisted treatment and a range of counseling programs for substance use and mental health disorders.

Recently, Spectrum launched Spectrum Education, Training, and Consulting, our newly formed educational arm which provides a wide range of customized training and technical assistance services for organizations and communities looking to develop their internal knowledge and skills surrounding addiction.

As of today, Spectrum operates more than 140 programs in community and institutional settings throughout Massachusetts, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia. Services are performed under contracts with a wide variety of private and public sector clients, including federal, state and local governments, major insurance carriers, employee assistance programs, private corporations and philanthropies. In partnering with most major insurance provider networks, we have significantly increased access to our addiction treatment services.

At the core of Spectrum's successful history has been its ability and desire to keep pace with the growing research and information available on the treatment of substance use and related disorders. We've adapted to an ever-changing service delivery system while remaining committed to our core principles.

Spectrum's success is a credit to the inspiring commitment of the individuals we serve, the unwavering dedication of our staff and the humbling generosity of our donors. In the years ahead, Spectrum will continue to further its mission by enhancing and expanding its programs, and building better lives, one step at a time.

To learn more about Spectrum’s 50-year history, check out our anniversary video and hear what Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker had to say about our achievements here.

For more information on Spectrum Health Systems, visit www.SpectrumHealthSystems.org or call 1-877-MyRehab.

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