Baker adding more beds for addiction treatment

As many as 415 new addiction and psychiatric treatment beds could open in Massachusetts by the end of 2016, in addition to the 300 beds already created during Gov. Charlie Baker's first year in office, according to the Executive Office of Health and Human Services.

The lack of inpatient treatment options has been a primary concern for advocates and the families of people seeking to overcome drug and alcohol addictions. The waiting lists for some long-term residential programs can be as long as six months and treatment professionals say that too often patients relapse after leaving detox because they cannot find a treatment program with room to take them.

The potential addition of 700 new beds over two years would be a dramatic addition to the current treatment infrastructure. As of Dec. 1, 2014, a month before Baker took office, there were just over 4,000 beds across all spectrums of care, according to Department of Public Health records.

"Most of the beds are going to end up being privately created," Baker said last week at an event in Boston.

"I think a combination of some of the statutory changes that have taken place, the funding that's been made available for this -- you're going to see people responding creatively," he added.

Because many of the new programs are still in the permitting process, the Department of Public Health is not releasing specific details, such as their locations, the type of programs, or the number of beds per facility.

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