Drug Addiction Rehab in Worcester, MA

After Boston, Worcester is the second most populous city in New England, and it’s located in Central Massachusetts. Worcester is the namesake and county seat of Worcester County. Many of the things that affect Worcester residents are factors that often influence drug use and risk for addiction.

This page will cover some of the many factors that contribute to the rate of addiction in Worcester and how to find a local addiction rehab center.

Worcester Statistics Overview

The 2021 Greater Worcester Community Health Assessment (CHA) published that a lower percentage of Worcester residents graduate from high school than average state rates indicate, as 84.71% of Worcester residents graduated from high school compared to a Massachusetts state average of 90.76%.1

The percentage of residents living below the federal poverty level (FPL) is nearly double in Worcester over state rates, as 19.98% of Worcester residents live in poverty as opposed to a state average of 10.29%.1

Of adult residents in Worcester, 16.70% are reported as having poor mental compared to 12.9% in Massachusetts overall.1

Poor mental health, low education, and poverty can all contribute to drug use and addiction.1

High Crime and Drug Misuse in Worcester

Environmental factors can play into drug use rates and risk for addiction. Not feeling safe in one’s neighborhood can lead to increased stress, for example. Peer pressure, violence, and crime can all influence drug use and misuse, too.1

Crime and violence rates are public health concerns that can negatively affect a community. In 2017, Worcester had almost 140,000 criminal or violent incidents reported to the police.2

Drugs and crime are often related to each other, and each can contribute to the other. The Worcester Police Department’s Neighborhood Response Team is trying to improve the crime rate and get people struggling with drug use into treatment programs, off the streets, and out of jail, Mass Live publishes.3

A program in Worcester called the Buyer Diversion Treatment Alternative also attempts to divert eligible people caught illegally buying narcotics into rehab programs instead of arresting them, Wbur explains. The program is one of the first of its kind in the United States.4

The Honorable Milton Ralphaeson Recovery Court is a drug court in Worcester that was established in spring 2016, offering nonviolent offenders arrested on drug-related charges the opportunity to go through a mandated treatment program instead of going to prison, as published by the Telegram.5

This program acts as a kind of probation while participants undergo treatment, and graduates often end up sober with a lessened or dropped sentence. Massachusetts has several specialty courts to help people battling addiction and/or mental health concerns to get the professional help they need.6

Drug and Alcohol Misuse in Worcester, MA

The New England High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (NE HIDTA) reports that heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, crack cocaine, controlled prescription drugs, and methamphetamine are all considered major drug threats in the region, which includes Worcester County, Massachusetts.7


Alcohol is a commonly used substance in Worcester. The rate for emergency department discharges related to alcohol use in Worcester were higher than state rates at 1,209 per 100,000 people versus 858 per 100,000 people statewide, the 2018 CHA publishes.2


Over 20% of Worcester adults considered themselves to be current smokers, which is higher than the state average of 15% of residents.1

Heroin and Other Opioids

Treatment admissions for adults in Worcester reporting heroin as the primary substance of use were also much higher than statewide averages: 62% of Worcester treatment admissions were for heroin versus a state rate of 53%.2

Opioid overdoses are a public health issue in both the state of Massachusetts and the city of Worcester. In 2017, there were 70 confirmed overdose deaths related to heroin or opioids and 1,238 calls to 911 for overdoses of any drug – an increase of 7%, the Telegram publishes.8


Marijuana is legal in the state of Massachusetts, and is a common drug of use in the area.9

Getting Help for Drug Addiction in Worcester

Fortunately, there are many resources and community-based programs to aid in drug use prevention, rehab and addiction treatment, and life improvement in the city of Worcester and the surrounding area.

In Massachusetts, the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (BSAS) manages the system of care throughout the state overseeing drug misuse and addiction prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery services. BSAS handles all of the following:10

  • Licenses treatment providers.
  • Provides funding for treatment, prevention, and recovery services.
  • Helps people without insurance or financial stability gain access to treatment.
  • Tracks substance use rates in the state.
  • Develops programs and policies related to drug and alcohol misuse.

Care is provided on a local level by state-regulated and licensed treatment providers. The Massachusetts Substance Abuse Helpline aids residents in finding local treatment providers either through a confidential and free phone call or via an online interactive survey.

The City of Worcester Department of Public Health is the only accredited multijurisdictional health department in the United States. They provide a directory of substance use disorder services within the city for its residents.

Worcester has three community health centers (CHCs) for residents to choose from for public treatment programs:

To find state-regulated programs, residents of Worcester can also use the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service’s (SAMHSA) Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator.

Public programs tend to give priority to pregnant women, families, and those in immediate crisis and may have a waiting list to get in. Private rehab facilities may have more immediate availability.

Rehab services are provided through public, nonprofit, and private providers, all of which can offer the following services:

  • Crisis management
  • Intervention services
  • Case management
  • Detoxification
  • Individual, group, and family counseling
  • Behavioral therapies
  • Life skills training
  • Relapse prevention
  • Co-occurring disorders treatment
  • Educational programs
  • Transitional services
  • Support groups
  • Medication management
  • Aftercare and recovery support services

Preventative efforts are offered on both a statewide and local community basis. BSAS publishes a Prevention Programs Directory that provides information on substance misuse prevention grants, programs, and agencies in Massachusetts.

The Office of the Worcester County District Attorney also provides a list of opioid task force community prevention programs and contact information. Many local community-based providers and coalitions offer preventative services and educational programs for the public as well.

The Central Massachusetts Regional Public Health Alliance (CMRPHA) serves the Worcester community to improve the quality of life of its residents, and the alliance strives to promote a healthy city. In a further effort to reduce prescription drug misuse, there are multiple prescription drop box locations throughout the city of Worcester where residents can safely dispose of unwanted and unused prescription medications with no questions asked.

In Massachusetts, individuals fearing an overdose can also obtain a prescription for the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone or go to any local pharmacy and obtain it; Mass.gov provides information on how to do so. The Overdose Education and Naloxone Distribution (OEND) Program also provides a directory on where and how to obtain naloxone in Massachusetts and Worcester.

Recovery support is important, and there are several organizations and community-based groups serving the community and people of Worcester, Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery (MOAR) seeks to educate the public on drug and alcohol misuse and addiction, lower stigma surrounding the disease, and support individuals in recovery.

A nonprofit support network for family members and loves ones of someone battling addiction involving opiates or other drugs, Learn to Cope provides educational opportunities and a host of resources.

Recovery support is also offered by the Everyday Miracles Peer Recovery Support Center in Worcester, which is funded by BSAS. It is recovery-oriented, providing peer-to-peer support.

Another peer support program, Central Massachusetts Area Narcotics Anonymous (NA) has local 12-Step group meetings offering sober fellowship and drug addiction recovery support.

Overall, Worcester has a wide range of prevention, treatment, and recovery support options to aid residents in sustaining a long and healthy recovery.

Drug Addiction Treatment in Massachusetts

Are you ready to reach out for help and find a drug and alcohol rehab in Massachusetts? If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction and are ready to take the first steps toward recovery, call us today at . AdCare offers several addiction rehab centers in the Massachusetts area, including drug and alcohol rehab in Worcester.

Outpatient Drug Treatment in Massachusetts

During outpatient addiction treatment, patients reside at home while attending treatment several times a week at the addiction rehab center in Worcester. Outpatient or “day treatment” may be a good option for people needing a more flexible treatment program that accommodates work and family schedules.

Inpatient Drug Treatment in Massachusetts

Inpatient drug and alcohol treatment is a more intensive form of rehab that involves living at the addiction rehab center while attending all-day programming. Medical staff and addiction specialists are available 24/7 in this setting.

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