Access to Recovery (ATR) Success Celebrated at Community Event in Boston

AHP organized an event in Boston on March 20, 2018, to celebrate the success of the Access to Recovery (ATR) program, honoring both those who benefit from the program and those who fund and run it. ATR changes lives for the better by providing recovery supports like vouchers for basic services and a unique job training program. The program has helped many who previously struggled with incarceration and other recovery barriers live sober lives and contribute to their communities, and it has also helped reduce overdose rates among those served. 

Approximately 60 people attended the ATR celebration, held at the New England Center for Arts & Technology (NECAT), which is one of ATR’s job training programs in Boston that focuses on culinary arts. Participants included the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MA DPH), Bureau of Substance Addiction Services (BSAS) officials, ATR coordinators (who match program recipients to services), service providers, and program participants. 

Three ATR participants from the job training programs spoke, describing how ATR has changed their lives for the better and how much they are indebted to ATR and the job training programs that have turned their lives around. The audience found their stories powerful and compelling. 

Karen Pressman, Director of the Planning and Development Unit of BSAS, was honored for her contributions to the field of addictions, including her efforts to bring ATR to Massachusetts and to ensure its continuance under the umbrella of the State Targeted Response to the Opioid Epidemic (STR) grant. 

After the event, Rebecca Starr, ATR project director at Advocates for Human Potential, Inc. (AHP), commented on the team that makes ATR possible and the incredible results it has produced. “ATR has helped close to 18,000 individuals, with significant outcomes in abstaining from drugs and alcohol, avoiding arrests and involvement with the criminal justice system, securing employment and stable housing, and avoiding relapse and overdose.” She continued, “The future is very bright for ATR, and it’s important to make sure that this program continues and ideally expands its reach across Massachusetts.” 

About ATR 

Since 2010, a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to MA DPH BSAS has funded ATR, and AHP has implemented the program. ATR is designed to support the recovery of people with substance use disorders (SUDs), giving them the dignity of self-sufficiency and hope for a future in recovery. Clients are offered recovery support services and can select vouchers to secure the services they think will help them most, including care coordination, basic critical needs support (clothing, IDs), public transportation passes, health and mental health supports, and employment training. 

ATR is being implemented in the Springfield and Boston areas, and it recently expanded to Worcester and New Bedford when the program was rolled into the Commonwealth’s STR grant. 

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