Recovery Month at Mass General

Doctor and patient at the Mass General Bridge Clinic

Join the Voices for Recovery: Strengthen Families and Communities!

Each September, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) sponsors National Recovery Month to increase awareness and understanding of mental and substance use disorders and celebrate the people who recover.

View Recovery Month 2018 events

Download the Recovery Month 2018 calendar

Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) Initiative

The Mass General Recovery Month Celebration is led by the Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) Initiative. The initiative was developed in response to a Community Health Needs Assessments in Chelsea, Revere and Charlestown, where residents identified substance use, particularly opioids, as the single greatest issue in their community. It represents a collaborative effort between the Departments of Medicine, Psychiatry, Social Work & Nursing, as well as The Center for Community Health Improvement, Mass General Community Health Centers and the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program.

The initiative was designed to improve the quality, clinical outcomes and value of addiction treatment for all Mass General patients with substance use disorder while simultaneously reducing the cost of their care. To accomplish this mission, patients must have access to evidence-based treatment that is readily available and standardized across the system. The Mass General SUDs Initiative is focused on re-designing care at all levels to meet this goal.

Dr. Sarah Wakeman featured on the Charged podcast

Sarah Wakeman, MD

Sarah Wakeman, MD, an addiction medicine specialist at Mass General and a national thought leader in treatment for substance use disorders, is now featured on the new Charged podcast. As the medical director for the hospital's Substance Use Disorders Initiative, she is committed to changing how addiction is understood by the public and how it is treated at Mass General. In the podcast, Dr. Wakeman addresses changing the face of addiction treatment.

Learn more and listen now!

Mass General Campus Events

Recovery Month Events for September 2018


Download the Recovery Month 2018 calendar


No Human Is an Island: It’s Time We Embrace Family/Relationship Therapies in Addiction Treatment

When: 9/4 from 9 -10 am

Where:  O’Keeffe Auditorium

Who: Estee Sharon, Psy.D., MGH West End Clinic

Description: Healthcare providers, public policy makers, politicians, families and communities are joining forces to stop the opioid epidemic in this country. The focus is inevitably on individuals who use substances. Yet we perceive families/friends/communities as essential companions to the journey of recovery and therefore embrace them in addiction treatment with their loved ones from the get go. We will explore the rationale behind this innovative and integrated approach and present testimonial evidence from patients and their families.

Addiction Treatment: Caring for the Family

When: 9/6 from 12 - 1 pm

Where:  Blum Center

Who: Sarah Bernstein, MD, Maternal Fetal Medicine; Jessica Gray, MD, Family Medicine & Addiction Medicine; and Katherine Raftery, Perinatal Recovery Coach

Description:  Pregnancy and the postpartum period are high-risk times for women and families with substance use disorder. MGH’s new HOPE Clinic cares for pregnant and postpartum women, their children, and their partners for the first few years of life through a multidisciplinary model including obstetrics, addiction, psychiatry and coaching. This talk will describe the clinic model and present ways we think about providing care for families affected by substance use disorder.

A Chance At Recovery: ED Based Treatment for Opioid Addiction

When: 9/7 from 12 - 1 pm

Where:  Blum Center

Who: Alister Martin, MD, MPP, and Dawn Williamson, RN, DNP, MGH Emergency Medicine

Description:  In 2015, 52,000 died from drug overdoses driven by the opioid crisis. In 1995, at the height of the AIDS epidemic, 51,000 Americans died from the disease. Emergency Departments (EDs) have stood at the front line of both crises. In this presentation, we will review the background for ED-Initiated Treatment for those suffering from opioid addiction and elucidate how federal policy that is good from afar, but far from good, often inhibits providers from caring for this patient population in the grips of the opioid crisis. It will also highlight how MGH has become an NIH endorsed national example of what it looks like when hospitals launch a department-wide effort to address the crisis head on. 

West End Walk-in Clinic: a New Model of Care to Increase Immediate Access to Treatment

When:  9/11 from 2 - 3 pm

Where:  Blum Center

Who: Vinod Rao, MD, Anne Carroll, CNP, Jennifer Blewett, LICSW, MGH West End Clinic

Description: The West End Clinic (WEC) at Massachusetts General Hospital is an outpatient facility for those with alcohol and substance use disorders, co-occurring mental health disorders and other types of addictive behaviors. After looking for new and innovative ways to engage patients who struggle to engage in treatment and show-up appointment times, the WEC recently piloted a daily walk-in service providing on-demand access to treatment for substance use disorder. Through this walk-in service, the WEC was able to engage a high-risk patient population and to substantially decrease wait times for treatment. Please join us for a presentation to learn more about the outcomes of this exciting pilot and the future of this service.

Recovery Month Kickoff

When: 9/12 at 10-11 am

Where: Bulfinch Tent

Description: Join us in celebrating the third annual MGH Recovery Month! This kickoff event will feature Tamela Milan-Alexander, a maternal and child community health worker with personal and professional experience in the impact of substance use disorder on families, Sarah Mackin, director of AHOPE Needle Exchange, and Stephanie Ahmed, DNP, legislative co-chair for the Massachusetts Coalition of Nurse Practitioners. This event will highlight the importance of investing in health and community and the vital role families play in accessing treatment and achieving recovery. The kickoff will also highlight new innovative and interdisciplinary models of care available at Mass General for substance use disorders.

Narcan Trainings

When: 9/13 from 10 - 11 am

Where: Yawkey 2-210

Description: Nasal naloxone (Narcan) is a prescription medication used to block the effects of opioids and reverse an overdose. This is a life-saving medication that can be used by healthcare staff, patients, and families. This training will be taught by MGH Emergency Medicine pharmacy resident Michael O’Brien. These trainings are by online sign-up, but walk-ins may be permitted if space allows. Please sign-up here.

Knight Center Presentation: Healthcare Providers are the Solution to Change

When: 9/13 from 1:30 - 2:30 pm

Where:  O’Keeffe Auditorium

Who: Colleen T. LaBelle, MSN, RN-BC, CARN

Description: Hosted by Colleen LaBelle, MSN, AMERSA 2017 Betty Ford Award recipient and director of STATE OBAT (Office-based Addiction Treatment) and Boston Medical Center’s OBAT, this program will address the importance of engaging nurses, nurse practitioners, and physicians assistants in the treatment of patients with Substance Use Disorder (SUD)/Opioid Use Disorder (OUD). It will also discuss how involving nurses increases access to OUD identification and treatment, and improves outcomes and feasibility of treatment implementation. Finally, it will address how nursing care destigmatizes SUD/OUD. Live stream the event here.

MOAR & Friends Recovery Month March & Celebration

When: 9/17 at 8 am

Where: Meet in the East Garden Room

Who:  Led by MGH staff

Description: This is a state-wide walk organized by the Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery (MOAR). All staff, patients, families, and community members are welcome. All MGH participants will meet in the East Garden Room at 8AM to walk to the City Hall Plaza to meet groups from across the state at 9 am. From there, MOAR will lead the march for a Recovery Month celebration to Faneuil Hall.

Information Table

When: 9/17, 9/18 from 8 am - 5 pm

Where:  Coffee Central

Description:  This table will be staffed by MGH providers and staff knowledgeable about addiction, treatment and recovery. A variety of educational materials and treatment resources will be available. Nasal Narcan training will also be available at the table for those who are interested.

Narcan Trainings

When: 9/19 from 12  to 1 pm

Where: Yawkey 2-210

Description: Nasal naloxone (Narcan) is a prescription medication used to block the effects of opioids and reverse an overdose. This is a life-saving medication that can be used by healthcare staff, patients, and families. This training will be taught by MGH emergency department pharmacist, Michelle Maguire. These trainings are by online sign-up, but walk-ins may be permitted if space allows. Please sign-up here.

Harm Reduction for Patients Prescribed Buprenorphine (Suboxone)? Is it Possible?

When: 9/20 from 12  – 1 pm

Where: Blum Center

Who: Laura Kehoe, MD, Medical Director, Substance Use Disorder Bridge Clinic

Description: The hallmark of addiction is loss of control and ongoing compulsive substance use despite negative consequences, and is underscored by significant difficulty in executive functioning and organization. As such, especially early on in care or at a time of relapse, long waits to engage in care or highly structured treatment modalities are unrealistic for many at best, and potentially lethal for others at worst.

The landscape of the opioid epidemic has changed dramatically with fentanyl and carfentanyl, requiring more readily available care and flexible care models to help keep people engaged in care, while we work with them through the natural history of substance use disorder.

By partnering with patients in this manner, we help keep them alive, lower their risk of ongoing serious health complications or overdose, and increase their chances of continuing to engage in meaningful treatment; we collaborate with them in the practice of harm reduction.

In this talk, we will:

1) review the definition and background of harm reduction and demonstrate that it is congruent with the management of patients with other chronic relapsing illnesses we treat in medicine.

2) review case examples of patients who benefit from low threshold or harm reduction care, and lower the risks associated with ongoing substance use, while fostering a relationship of trust to help them to  improve their health and move toward recovery.

There is Treatment, Treatment Works

When: 9/21 from 1 – 2:30 pm

Where: Haber Auditorium

Who: Georgia Stathopoulou, PhD

Description: Substance use disorders are the top public health problem in the United States and are among the most stigmatized conditions in society. Yet, these are highly treatable conditions from which the majority of people recover. This talk, led by Dr. Stathopoulou at the West End Clinic, will describe the numerous effective treatment options for substance use disorders. Patients who have utilized these treatments to achieve recovery will tell their stories.

Patient & Family Education Day: Substance Use Disorders: Sustaining Remission, Enhancing Recovery

When: 9/22 from 9:15 am to 3:30 pm

Where: Meet in the East Garden Room, Starr Center Auditorium, 185 Cambridge Street Boston

Description: Hosted by the Recovery Research Institute and featuring MGH experts in addiction, this patient and family education day will teach participants about what makes effective treatment, the latest recovery technologies available, how to build recovery capital and more. This event is free and available to the public. To learn more visit

Shatterproof Rise Up against Addiction 5K

When: 9/23 at 9 am

Where: Franklin Park Playstead, Pierpont Road, Boston, MA 02119

Description: Join the Mass General team for the Shatterproof Rise Up against Addiction 5K. Participants can walk or run the 5K. Shatterproof is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to ending the devastation addiction causes families, and money raised will advance advocacy efforts, provide evidence-based resources for families and help end the stigma of addiction. To join or donate to the team, click here.

Engaging Youth in Treatment in the New Era of Legalized Marijuana

When: 9/24 from 12  – 1 pm

Where: Blum Center

Who: James McKowen, PhD, MGH Addiction Recovery Management Service

Description: The topic will cover recent trends in marijuana use in youth, impact of marijuana on the developing brain, and how parents can talk with their child about concerns with marijuana use and motivate them to engage in treatment. The discussion will also review existing treatment options for youth with marijuana problems.

What Can I Expect? Dual Substance Use and Mental Health Treatment for Military Populations

 When: 9/25 from 12  – 1 pm

 Where: Blum Center

 Who: Rene Lento, PhD and Lauren Brenner, PhD, MGH Home Base

Description: Co-occurring substance use and mental health conditions (e.g., posttraumatic stress, depression, anxiety) are common among military personnel and Veterans. Only recently, however, have treatment approaches shifted to addressing these dual conditions simultaneously. This talk describes the rationale for dual-diagnosis treatment, as well as the levels of care and interventions available for dually-diagnosed service members/Veterans and their families. Case examples will be used to illustrate key concepts.

Nursing Care of the Mother with Substance Use Disorder and her Newborn; Trauma Informed Care

When: 9/26 from 12 - 1 pm

Where:  Blum Center

Who:  Kelli Thomas, BSN, CARN and Shanna Mavilio, MSN, RNC, Newborn Family Unit

Description: As the American Nurse’s Association (ANA) recognizes, addictions nursing is no longer practiced exclusively in specialized drug and alcohol treatment centers, during tertiary stages of illness. Nurses encounter patients with substance use and addictive disorders in various areas, across the health care continuum. Our hope is that this presentation will not only further your appreciation for the diverse settings in which addictions nursing is practiced, but allow us to impart the ways in which we are preparing to provide optimal nursing care for the OB patient with Substance Use Disorder and her newborn.

Narcan Trainings

When: 9/27 from 2 - 3 pm

Where: Yawkey 2-230

Description: Nasal naloxone (Narcan) is a prescription medication used to block the effects of opioids and reverse an overdose. This is a life-saving medication that can be used by healthcare staff, patients, and families. This training will be taught by MGH emergency department pharmacist, Michelle Maguire.  These trainings are by online sign-up, but walk-ins may be permitted if space allows. Please sign-up here.

Recovery Coach Forum: Addressing Stigma

When: 9/28 from 1 – 2 pm

Where: Haber Auditorium

Who: Nick DeSimone, Lorraine Fitzgerald, Efrain Lozada, Katie Raftery, Allen Ryba, CPS, and Chuck Weinstein, CPS, MGH Recovery Coach Staff

Description: Recovery Coaches are essential, non-clinical members of care teams within primary care and community health center settings. These professionals have lived through active addiction and wish to share their experiences as being a patient receiving care as well as a provider of care. Moderated by Chuck Weinstein, recovery coach supervisor, this presentation will be a unique and special exploration into the thoughts and feelings of these fine Mass General professionals.

Mass General Community Events

Recovery Month Community Events 2018


Download the Recovery Month 2018 calendar


EASTIE Coalition

Community Vigil

Remembering Those Lost to Overdose

The impact of drug and alcohol abuse touches many in our community. If you have lost friend, loved one, or colleague to this epidemic, join the EASTIE Coalition and EBNHC in a community vigil to reflect upon those who have passed. Together, we can remember those we have lost, support each other in our grieving and healing, and destigmatize addiction.

Piers Park, Marginal Street, East Boston
Sunday, September 30, 2018
Registration: 5:00 - 5:30 pm
Program: 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm
Free parking is available at Piers Park or starting at 5:00 pm in the EBNHC lot at 250 Sumner Street.
For more information, contact Joanna Cataldo: or at 617-568-6492.
Download the event flyer. Register here.


Revere Cares

The 12th Annual Revere Beach Memorial

Hosted by the City of Revere and Revere CARES

The Annual Revere Beach Memorial is a candlelight vigil for families and friends who wish to remember a loved one who lost their life due to an overdose. The Revere CARES Coalition and the City of Revere are again organizing this touching event for Sunday, September 16, 2018, at the DCR William G. Reinstein Bandstand on Revere Beach (rain or shine). The event begins at sunset, approximately 7:00 pm, and will end around 8:00 pm. Individuals can register a name to be read by contacting Revere CARES at 781-435-6440 or arriving between 5:45 pm and 6:45 pm on the night of the event.


The Charlestown Coalition

St. Mary's Recovery Mass

St. Mary - St. Catherine of Siena Parish
55 Warren St. Charlestown, MA
Sunday, September 9, 2018, at 6:00 pm

Turn It Around 5th Annual BBQ
Kickoff to Recovery Month
Charlestown High School Football Field
Tuesday, September 11, 2018, 4:00 - 6:00 pm

Gavin Foundation Comedy Show

IBEW 256 Freeport St. #1, Dorchester, MA
Friday, September 14, 2018, 6:30 - 9:30 pm
*Adult Only, 18+

MOAR Recovery Day

Walk to Boston Common for Rally & March to Faneuil Hall
Meet at Charlestown Boys & Girls Club on Monday, September 17, 2018, at 8:30 am for provided breakfast

RUNNIN' Documentary Viewing
Charlestown Knights of Columbus
Wednesday, September 19, 2018, at 6:00 pm

10th Annual Charlestown Candlelight Vigil
Meet at Charlestown Peace Park to dedicate memory rocks at 6:00 pm. Vigil begins at 7:00 pm at Hayes Square on Saturday, September 22, 2018.

If you have any questions regarding details of Charlestown Coalition Recovery Month events, please contact Shannon Lundin at (617)-320-9058 or


Healthy Chelsea

Chelsea Celebrates Recovery Movie Night!
The movie JAWS at Admiral’s Hill
Thursday, September 13, 6:30 pm at Mary O’Malley Park

Celebrate Recovery Cookout
American Legion, 249 Broadway, Revere
Thursday, September 20, 4 - 7 pm

Stories of Recovery Panel Discussion
MGH Chelsea HealthCenter, 4th floor, Eleanor Clark conference room
Friday, September 21, 12 - 1 pm
Lunch is provided. Public is welcome.

Opioid Overdose Prevention & Narcan Training
Friday, September 28, 12 - 1 pm
MGH Chelsea HealthCenter, 4th floor, Eleanor Clark conference room.
Lunch is provided. Public is welcome.

Third Annual Chelsea Memorial Overdose Vigil
City Hall Lawn
Tuesday, October 2, 6:30 - 8 pm

Resource Fair at SELAH Resource Center
Tentative date: October 23, 10 am - 12 pm, followed by lunch.

For more information, contact Raina McMahan at, or call 857-205-4201. 

Addiction Services

Addiction Services at Mass General


“Addiction is a disease that impairs will power and decision making. We are working to educate patients, families, communities and health care professionals that addiction is a chronic brain disease and not a moral failure. There are millions of people who live in recovery. Treatments work. We want to acknowledge and celebrate their achievements.”

--Nalan Ward, MD, Director, Mass General Outpatient Addiction Services

The West End Clinic

The West End Clinic (WEC) of Mass General is an outpatient facility for those with alcohol and drug addictions, co-occurring mental health disorders and other types of addictive behaviors. The clinic offers a wide range of outpatient therapies and medication treatment along with other resources.

Learn more about the West End Clinic


The Addiction Recovery Management Service (ARMS) specializes in supporting teenagers and young adults between the ages of 14 and 26, and their parents, as they deal with their substance use and related problems. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 617-643-4699.

Learn more about ARMS

HOPE Clinic

The HOPE Clinic (Harnessing support for Opioid and substance use disorders in Pregnancy and Early childhood) at Massachusetts General Hospital and MassGeneral Hospital for Children provides comprehensive care for pregnant women with substance use disorder, their partners and their infants from conception through early childhood. The HOPE Clinic sees patients from 9:00 am-4:00 pm on Wednesdays on the Mass General main campus. However, the team can be reached any time during the week by phone at 617-724-4643 or by email.

Learn more about the HOPE Clinic

Watch Emily’s inspiring story of recovery with the help of Mass General’s Bridge Clinic. “It’s a relief to have found a place where I’m not kicked out for being honest and asking for help,” she says, “I’ve felt loved and accepted, and love is crucial to someone in recovery.”



For more information on the Recovery Month Celebration and the Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) Initiative, contact:

Elizabeth Powell

Project Manager, SUDs Initiative


For media inquiries, please contact McKenzie Ridings in the Massachusetts General Hospital Public Affairs Office at 617-726-0274 or