Gosnold Seeks $185m in Drug Treatment Efforts

EAST FALMOUTH — During Gosnold's first legislative forum Friday, officials from the treatment center cited the need for millions of more dollars for recovery support centers, family sober living programs and workforce development.

"A full range of community services are needed," Gosnold chief operating officer Elizabeth Folcarelli told members of the Cape's legislative delegation and others who assembled for the afternoon meeting at the Falmouth Navigator.

She asked the lawmakers to fund line items in the state Department of Public Health's budget that would continue step-down services at $4.9 million and $1.02 million for first responder and bystander Naloxone programs.

In addition, Folcarelli asked legislators to add $45.5 million to the Baker administration's proposed $139.4 million for the Bureau of Substance Addiction Services.

The Association of Behavioral Healthcare — to which Gosnold belongs — says a total of $184.9 million is needed to expand the Massachusetts Access to Recovery program, provide training for Department of Corrections and House of Corrections staff in drug treatment efforts, recruit workers, fund family sober living programs and create five new recovery support centers.

"As people get better, their needs change," Folcarelli said.

Gosnold provides services ranging from detoxification and residential treatment to outpatient services and recovery coaching.

Pocasset resident Mark Mulhern, 31, said that Gosnold helped save his life when he abused pills and alcohol in an effort to cope with traumas including a high school friend's suicide and his father's death from alcoholism.

A graduate of Assumption College who worked for an investment bank in Boston, Mulhern said he is most proud of the fact that he's "a Miller House graduate."

"When I came to Gosnold I got help," said Mulhern, who is currently the center manager of South Shore Peer Recovery.

"I was broken. I was lost," Mulhern said. "I could easily have been one of the statistics," he said.

Mulhern, who previously worked at Miller House as a recovery aide and program director following his treatment, said lawmakers need to fund programs that help people get and stay sober.

"This isn't a two-week fix. This isn't a 90-day fix. This is a lifelong journey," said Mulhern, who received a standing ovation.

"It is a disease of the brain that rewires our brain. It takes time to heal," Mulhern said.

"People through this disease get separated from free will," said state Rep. Randy Hunt, R-Sandwich, who Friday was the first recipient of Gosnold's legislative services excellence award.

Stigma "is still a problem," Hunt said.

But "the brain will start healing" if people stay on the road to recovery long enough, Hunt said. "Keep them on that road."

State Rep. Dylan Fernandes, D-Falmouth, said that as a millennial he's seen classmates lost to drug use and overdoses, including a person who died Monday — one of three people in Falmouth to die in 48 hours from overdoses.

Gosnold officials asked for support when it comes time to start reviewing rates for reimbursements the state pays to organizations providing residential services and outpatient services under Chapter 257.

The per-patient daily cost of staying at the Miller House or Emerson House is $140 a day but the state only reimburses Gosnold $102 a day, Folcarelli said.

Do you know somebody on Cape Cod that is suffering from addiction? We’re such a close community of year-round folks, I have to imagine you know someone who has been affected. We are now at a point where the opioid epidemic is affecting the health care industry and policy-making at the state and federal level. Do you think the Bureau of Substance Addiction Services will receive the proposed ~$185M approval? Are they deserving of it? Let us know in the comments.