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All Substance Abuse

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Program

Roger Weiss, MD, Chief
Hilary Smith Connery, MD, PhD, Clinical Director

The abuse of alcohol, prescription medications and illegal drugs remains at epidemic proportions, affecting an estimated 28 million adults and young people, as well as their families and communities. The McLean Hospital Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Program (ADATP) provides comprehensive support for individuals who want to reduce their chemical dependency and regain control over their lives.

Treatment Approach

In-depth assessment of each individual's unique situation allows for a treatment approach that is personalized and comprehensive. Recognizing that individuals vary widely in terms of motivation for treatment and life circumstances, the staff is committed to developing flexible strategies for achieving treatment goals. Both professional care and self-help approaches are integrated into the model. The program's goal is to help patients achieve and maintain abstinence, reclaim a sense of self worth, and learn to manage the stresses of an active life without returning to substance dependence. For individuals who are dually diagnosed with substance dependence and other psychiatric illness, the program draws upon its expertise in this area, as well as the comprehensive mental health services of the hospital.

Program and Services

Services are flexible to meet individual needs. The ADATP offers a full continuum of care, including outpatient services, partial hospitalization and short-term, acute inpatient treatment.

Outpatient services provide comprehensive consultation and evaluation, group and individual psychotherapy, pharmacotherapy and family therapy. Short-term individual therapy focuses on the substance abuse problem, related family and vocational issues, relapse triggers and coping skills.

As with McLean's other outpatient programs, clinical services are designed to be short term. Should longer-term treatment be necessary, assistance is provided in finding appropriate community resources. Some longer-term treatment is provided in the form of group psychotherapy.

Outpatient recovery groups include a dual diagnosis group; readiness for recovery groups for individuals who have not yet reached a decision about committing themselves to abstinence; early recovery groups; a women's group; a men's group and longer-term recovery groups that focus on relapse intervention, interpersonal and other problems, which remain even after abstinence has been achieved. To complement these services and encourage individuals' initiatives in their own recovery, many self-help groups are hosted by McLean Hospital. These include Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, SMART Recovery and Al-Anon.

Partial hospitalization is available to help individuals who need intensive treatment, but do not require the security or the structure of inpatient care. Participants attend structured programs of group and individual psychotherapy at McLean for extended blocks of day or evening time, spending their nights at home or in the residential program on the McLean grounds. Partial hospitalization is a cost-effective strategy that also provides an opportunity to test, in community life, the lessons learned in the treatment program. Inpatient acute care is available for patients, ages 18 or older, who need intensive and secure care to begin a life free of substance dependence. A supportive and safe environment encourages self-care and enhances motivation for recovery.

Acute residential care is available for patients who lack a stable home environment or those who can benefit from the additional support of a structured, alcohol- and drug-free, tobacco-free, setting.

McLean Ambulatory Treatment Center at Naukeag

The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Program offers a partial hospital and acute, residential program, with 24-hour a day staffing, for adults in North Central Massachusetts, in the town of Ashburnham. In-depth individual assessment, personalized and comprehensive treatment, group therapy, case management and ongoing support and education are included in the program.

The McLean Center at Fernside

The McLean Center at Fernside is a world-class residential treatment program for adults with substance use disorders. As a satellite of McLean Hospital, this 10-bed, private-pay program, offers evaluation and individualized services for residents whose substance use disorders may be complicated by co-occurring psychiatric conditions. The program combines the use of medications, if required, and psychosocial treatment modalities with a seven-day-a-week psychoeducational curriculum for proven positive outcomes. The Center is beautifully furnished throughout. All rooms are private and have full baths.

McLean Residence at the Brook

The McLean Residence at the Brook is a longer-term, residential treatment program for adults with a wide range of alcohol and drug use problems, particularly those who have had persistent relapses, require further psychiatric or psychosocial assessment or whose alcohol or drug use issue is complicated by psychiatric illness. This eight-bed, private-pay program, located in Waltham, Mass., offers case management support, group therapy, counseling and psychosocial support, and medication management.


The ADATP has a tradition of carrying out clinical research, much of it aimed at developing and studying new treatment approaches for patients with alcohol and drug abuse problems. Those interested in more information about the ADATP research program can call 617.855.2588 or visit McLean's Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Center (ADARC) on our website.


The ADATP is staffed by psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, public health specialists, nurses and addiction counselors. The staff is committed to working collaboratively with referring physicians and mental health and addiction professionals.

Information and Referral

For further information, call 1.800.333.0338, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For outpatient services, call Intake at 617.855.2300, Monday through Friday. McLean Hospital accepts Medicare, Massachusetts Medicaid, Blue Cross and many other private health insurance plans. Substance abuse inpatient services are not available for Medicaid beneficiaries. Insurance coverage may be limited for some services and ambulatory services at Naukeag, especially for longer-term residential treatment.