Health, News

Malden hopes to fight disease together with recovery center

MALDEN — Malden Mayor Gary Christenson and state Sen. Jason Lewis predicted “one day … soon,” the city will have an addiction recovery center.

“We must work together to fight this disease of addiction,” said Lewis. “We must have more detox beds in Malden, we must have more treatment period. Above all, we must establish the Bridge Recovery Center in Malden. We need a place where those battling addiction can go that is a safe, sober environment to promote wellness and provide direct, peer-to-peer support.”

The city is already home to strong local efforts providing addiction recovery services. Malden Overcoming Addiction (MOA) has initiated a recovery coach program with appropriate training provided to participants. MOA also hosted the Oct. 15 third annual recovery candlelight vigil.

MOA President and CEO Paul Hammersley praised Lewis for working for months to promote the establishment of a Malden recovery center. Christenson said the city’s state legislative delegation is working together to end addiction in Malden and surrounding communities.

“A major step in that direction would be to put a peer-to-peer recovery center here in Malden and we will work tirelessly with our state legislators to achieve the goal,” Christenson said.

Lewis said that 10 recovery centers are now in operation in Massachusetts, funded primarily by the state Department of Public Health (DPH).

Hammersley said there is one recovery center in downtown Boston, but not another within 30-40 miles. There are none on the North Shore and not one in the greater Boston area.

“There is a vital need for this type of support for those fighting the disease of addiction. Right now there is no place for anyone to go if they come out of rehab or detox. That’s why there is such a high rate of returning to addiction and increasing the possibility of an overdose,” Hammersley said. “We need the Bridge Recovery Center in Malden.”

A Bridge Recovery Center based in Malden could serve many other communities, including Medford, Everett, Melrose, Saugus, Lynn, and Winthrop.

“Addiction is not a moral shortcoming, it is a disease,” Hammersley said. “We have to shout it from the rooftops that we are here, we are ready to help, and we are willing to work as long and as hard as it takes to save lives.”

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