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December 4, 2022

What Are the Key Principles of Addiction Treatment in Massachusetts?

Addiction is a terrible disease that affects millions of Americans of all ages. From illicit drugs to prescription medications and alcohol, these substances wreak havoc. However, there is hope and help available for those struggling with addiction, as well as for their families. Addiction treatment in Massachusetts can help people relearn the skills needed to live a happy, calm life free of drugs or alcohol. 


Of course, there’s a lot of confusion about addiction treatment in MA and how it works. What makes a good program for treating addiction? How do you tell a worthwhile program from one that is unlikely to be successful? It all comes down to understanding the fundamental principles of addiction treatment and what they mean.


The 13 Principles of Addiction Treatment in Massachusetts


Whether we’re discussing alcohol dependency, addiction to illicit drugs, or dependency on prescription medications, it all comes down to the same thing. Successfully fighting back against addiction requires the right steps, and those must be based on principles that ensure effective treatment. There are 13 principles involved in today’s addiction treatment programs – at least those that offer the most effectiveness.What Are the Key Principles of Addiction Treatment in Massachusetts?


A Complex but Treatable Disease


The first principle is that addiction is a complex but treatable disease. It affects not just the life of the person addicted but also their behavior and even changes their brain function. Those changes last long after the individual stops using drugs, which means there is a chance for relapse even after long periods of abstinence. 


No One-Size-Fits-All Path


It’s tempting to assume that all addictions are similar, so all treatment options should be, as well. However, everyone is different and will require a customized treatment plan to achieve success. 


Readily Available


If addiction treatment in Massachusetts is not readily available when the person struggling with addiction is ready to take advantage of the service, they may be lost. Those facing addiction may be very uncertain about the value or benefit of going through treatment, so any delay in providing services could mean less effective or no treatment.


Beyond Addiction


Those struggling with addiction never face just substance abuse – they must deal with trauma, emotional challenges, and more. Any successful addiction treatment in Massachusetts must also provide for those needs.




Quick-fix addiction treatment in Massachusetts plans often fail. This is because those battling addictions need time to change their way of thinking and their behaviors. Time is the most important factor in overcoming addiction. Most people require a minimum of three months to reduce or stop drug or alcohol use significantly.


Behavioral Therapies


Addiction treatment in MA requires more than just medication. It also needs behavioral therapy if it is to be successful. And those therapies need to extend to others beyond the individual battling addiction, including their family members. 


Medications Matter


While behavioral therapies help individuals develop skills and change their thinking, medications help blunt the immediate effects of quitting drugs or alcohol. 


Continual Adjustment


There is no way to “set it and forget it” regarding successful addiction treatment in Massachusetts. Individuals should be continually assessed and their treatment plan adjusted to meet their changing needs. 


Mental Disorders


Drug and alcohol addiction go hand in hand with mental disorders. Those disorders often cause symptoms that individuals turn to drugs or alcohol to mask. Successful addiction treatment programs will address those underlying mental health disorders, as well as the addiction itself.


A Multi-Stage Journey


Too often, addiction treatment is seen as a single thing. The truth is that it’s a multi-stage journey that requires specific steps, treatment options, and care at every step along the way. Detox, for instance, is only the first step and is often the least effective.


Voluntary Addiction Treatment?


Voluntary addiction treatment in Massachusetts is often seen as the most effective option, but the truth is that involuntary treatment can be just as effective. Patients can be incentivized by family and friends or sanctioned by law enforcement to enter and remain in drug and alcohol addiction treatment.


Lapses Occur During Addiction Treatment


There’s a misbelief that relapses only occur once a patient leaves addiction treatment. However, the truth is that relapses can and do occur at any point along the way, including while in treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. This means that drug use must be monitored and tested for at key points along the way.


Infectious Diseases


What Are the Key Principles of Addiction Treatment in Massachusetts?Many people addicted to drugs are also at high risk for infectious diseases, including hep B and C, HIV/AIDS, and TB to name only a few. This makes testing for these diseases, coupled with access to treatment and other forms of help, critical for patients' long-term success.




Together, these 13 principles form the foundation of any successful program for addiction treatment in Massachusetts. The overriding rule should be that compassionate care for the entire individual is critical to their success and ability to live a rewarding life free of drugs and/or alcohol.

Meta has two locations in Massachusetts. Our Reading, MA PHP and IOP provide outstanding outpatient drug and alcohol therapy.

[author] [author_image timthumb='on']/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/img-ed-480x572.jpg[/author_image]  [author_info]Reviewed by Ed Lepage, Executive Director

Ed Lepage completed the drug and alcohol certificate program at the University of Massachusetts Boston and has been working in the substance abuse dependency field for the past seven years. He has also worked extensively in peer recovery-based programs offering “real-world experience” to those that suffer from substance use dependency. Full Bio [/author_info] [/author]