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Where you read it first | Saturday, June 22, 2024

Substance abuse treatment clinic, recovery residence opens at Tufts

Flyers in The Haven at College's outpatient center on 200 Boston Ave. is pictured on Sept. 19, 2019.

For students recovering from substance abuse, the road to sobriety can be a long and lonely one. A new set of resources for Tufts students in recovery aims to change that.

The Haven at College, a private organization, is partnering with Tufts to operate an outpatient substance abuse treatment center and a recovery residence for students this fall, according to an email sent to all students in July. The Haven has established similar recovery programs at universities in California, Maryland and Ohio, according to its website.

The Haven's services include intensive outpatient care treatment centers, peer-led recovery services and harm reduction programs. At Tufts, The Haven's on-campus recovery residence is in a wood-frame house owned by the school, while the treatment center is located at 200 Boston Ave.

Ian Wong, director of health promotion and prevention, spoke about the positive impact that The Haven will have on Tufts' campus.

“[Recovery] is a continuum, and The Haven is part of it. It is about how many students can we keep here at Tufts," Wong said. "Say there is a student that really needs alcohol recovery programming and until now we did not have this capacity, and we had to say you need to take a semester off. But now with The Haven, they have the option to go to an intensive outpatient or inpatient facility."

Wong also hopes that The Haven's programs will help incoming students with substance abuse issues successfully transition into college. 

“There are a lot of students [of all ages] in recovery. A lot of students with substance abuse issues are scared to come to college. Often, people hear the two words 'sobriety' and 'college,' and some think that they do not mix, and their parents are terrified. How do we help students know that there are other options?” Wong said. 

According to Wong, Tufts received a $10,000 grant in 2016 from Transforming Youth Recovery, a nonprofit, to expand recovery services for students. He added that the university's partnership with The Haven is the next step in this expansion. 

Sophie Pyne, The Haven's national director of university relations, shared that Tufts first approached The Haven about a potential partnership in February 2018.

“Before we enter into any collaborative partnership with a school, we do a process called community mapping, [which we undertook] in Feb. 2018. A team of us came to the university and spent a week here. We want to understand from a strengths-based approach what resources are already available on campus concerning mental health and substance abuse, because we never want to replicate or duplicate services that are already provided,” Pyne said. 

Pyne and The Haven's team met with an array of people on campus to gain multiple perspectives on where their presence and services are most demanded. 

“We met with around 80 people from Tufts, [everyone] from faculty, professors, administrators, staff and students,” Pyne said.

After The Haven finished its visit to Tufts, the team transcribed all of the data that was gathered through interviews and observations, before presenting to the Tufts administration on the strengths and gaps in on-campus recovery care and their recommendations to the university in March 2018, according to Pyne.

“Our proposed plan of action may be a recommendation of a partnership with our organization or it may be a blueprint to the university of what our plan will be, and nine out of the 10 universities that we present to want to bring us in as expert partners on this topic,” Pyne said.

The Haven currently works with a steering committee at Tufts whose members include Executive Director of Health and Wellness Michelle Bowdler and Dean of Student Affairs ad interim Nancy Thompson.

“We ... have a launch advisory team that is also made up of a lot of different members of the administration, because we feel strongly that this is a collaborative approach and we do not want to just be an outpatient facility right next to Tufts,” Pyne said.

Pyne said that Tufts students can opt in to any of the available recovery services and personalize their treatment to their own needs.

Students at the on-campus recovery residence live there for the entire academic year; however, The Haven at Tufts will be accepting applicants to the house on a rolling basis. 

“We currently have three residents and one house manager. We have more beds available and applications come on a rolling basis, because we know that addiction does not start or stop based on the semester,” Pyne said. "Our house manager is a graduate student at The Fletcher School who has been sober for over five years, who is there to act as a peer mentor for other students living in the house."

The costs of living in the recovery residence are according to the on-campus tiered housing rates, plus an additional fee for The Haven's services, Pyne said, but scholarships are available for students based on financial need. 

At the outpatient center, anyone — not just Tufts students — can undergo intensive treatment for substance abuse, according to Lawrence Berger, clinical director of The Haven at Tufts.

“We are ... open to students outside of the university. We have a program called intensive outpatient which is nine hours a week and then they come in [for] groups on education about substance abuse, relapse prevention. We deal with the sanctions from Tufts and we recommend the best course of action,” Berger said. 

Pyne explained that in addition to intensive, nine-hour-a-week treatment, the outpatient center will also have Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, alcohol and cannabis screening and intervention programs known as BASICS and CASICS, cognitive behavioral therapy and clinical therapy.

Pyne added that the intensive treatment program lasts between four and eight weeks, but students can continue attending one-on-one sessions with one of the three clinicians at the outpatient center, including Berger, for as long as they need.

Berger, who is licensed to provide care for both mental health and substance abuse, said that The Haven's treatment programs will address the intersection of mental health and recovery from substance abuse.

“I discovered that many of the clients that come in for substance or alcohol abuse and addiction often suffer from something else, including depression and anxiety,” Berger said.

The Haven is currently working on assembling a network of insurance providers that will be compatible with its Tufts chapter, according to Pyne.

Pyne said that The Haven Outpatient Center will officially open on Oct. 2.

Wong sees Tufts' partnership with The Haven as another way to help students who need treatment or are in recovery, and to make recovery services more visible within the campus community.

“I have a dream of when [prospective] students are on a tour and someone asks about international relations, the other about a social club and [another] about the recovery system and it just rolls off the tongue,” Wong said.

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