Massachusetts Drug & Alcohol Outpatient Rehab Centers

If it’s time for you to seek outpatient treatment, you should consider recovering in Massachusetts. The Bay State has been committed to fighting the opioid epidemic for over a decade.

Massachusetts towns and cities are focusing on the problems caused by drugs and how to solve that problem. The result is a rich network of evidence-based treatment in the area, including outpatient programs.

Not having the time isn’t a reason to avoid getting treatment for addiction—because time-consuming live-in programs (while effective) aren’t your only option. Outpatient treatment programs help you cross the barrier to treatment by offering flexible treatment on your terms. 

While attending outpatient in MA, you should expect your care to take place during scheduled sessions while you keep living at home. The frequency and length of treatment sessions depends on your needs and history.

The most common outpatient programs include:

  • Partial hospitalization programs
  • 12 Steps programs
  • Standard outpatient programs with up to 4 phases of care

You might be a candidate for an outpatient treatment program in MA if you:

  • Live with a substance use disorder
  • Struggle to stop using drugs or alcohol
  • Have trouble finding the time to attend inpatient rehab
  • Have responsibilities to attend to at home, like work or childcare

Wondering if outpatient rehab could be right for you? Chances are that you have questions about how to find outpatient rehab, what to expect, and more.

Learn the lowdown on drugs, alcohol and outpatient rehab in MA:

Massachusetts Alcohol and Drug Addiction Statistics

Like most parts of New England and the Northeast, opioids are the leading threat in Massachusetts. The National Institute on Drug Abuse most recently reported MA drug statistics in 2018.

Massachusetts-Specific Drug Stats

In MA, health officials reported 2,214 drug overdoses in 2019. The year before, 88% of drug overdose deaths in Massachusetts involved opioids. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 alone, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health distributed 13,000 Narcan kits to reverse opioid overdose deaths in populations that are high-risk.

Massachusetts Treatment Facts

The Massachusetts Bureau of Substance Addiction Services last reported data on treatment admissions in 2018 for the previous year. Here’s what they found about people entering treatment in MA:

  • 80,896 people entered addiction treatment
  • There were 109,002 treatment admissions, including repeat admissions
  • 47% of people in treatment reported injecting drugs within the last year
  • Alcohol (41%) and heroin (37%) were the primary drugs in most treatment admissions

Massachusetts Alcohol and Drug Outpatient Treatment Questions

It’s natural to have questions about outpatient treatment before you decide it’s right for you. Asking questions (and getting answers) is a normal part of deciding to go to rehab.

The more you know, the better prepared you can be for treatment. Check out the answers to these frequently-asked questions in the area:

Where should I go to receive the best outpatient drug treatment in Massachusetts?

The best outpatient drug treatment in Massachusetts depends on you and your individual needs. That being said, you should go to an outpatient treatment center that:

  • Customizes your care to meet your needs
  • Provides evidence-based treatment
  • Offers integrated care for co-occurring mental health disorders
  • Guides you on aftercare

Those 4 important factors ensure that the treatment you’re getting is safe and effective. Northeast Addictions Treatment Center offers programs that meet all these requirements and more.

How long is outpatient addiction treatment in Massachusetts?

The length of outpatient treatment depends on your recovery progress and the level of care that you need. Your care team will work with you to choose the right treatment length for you, but in general, aim to stay in treatment for at least 3 months.

The shortest ideal length of treatment is 90 days, but you should attend treatment for as long as you can in most cases. In fact, many people keep attending outpatient rehab for months or years to maintain their recovery.

What should I look for in an outpatient rehab facility?

Look for a treatment facility that offers outpatient care in phases so you can adjust your care to meet your changing needs as you go.

The exact course of multi-phase treatment varies depending on the treatment center and your needs, but it usually includes an intensive phase, a transition or reintegration phase, and a maintenance phase. You might move back and forth between the phases more than once.

Is addiction treatment necessary for recovery?

Yes, addiction treatment is necessary for recovery! Outpatient treatment is an accessible form of care that can help you through the most vulnerable parts of recovery.

During treatment, you learn critical coping skills that can help you maintain long-term recovery. Without addiction treatment, your risk of relapse jumps by up to 50%! 

How to Choose an Outpatient Rehab Center

If you’re sure that outpatient rehab is the next step for you, then it’s time to decide where you’ll begin your recovery. Choosing the right treatment center is highly individual and your decision may include factors like these:


Accredited facilities are held to a standard of care by an outside agency, which means you can be sure that the treatment center in question is keeping up on addiction treatment best practices.

Look for local addiction treatment that holds these accreditations:

  • Joint Commission
  • Massachusetts Bureau of Substance Addiction Services

Evidence-Based Treatment

The most reputable outpatient treatment centers use evidence-based treatment methods. That is, treatment methods that have scientific research backing their use. To know if a treatment center offers evidence-based treatment, look for programs that include:

  • 12 Steps rehabilitation therapy
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Family behavior therapy
  • Medication-assisted treatment

This isn’t an exhaustive list of evidence-based treatment for addiction, but it includes the most commonly used ones.

Customized Outpatient Programs

The best treatment centers in MA offer customized rehab programs. Instead of applying the same treatment to everyone with your diagnosis, your care team will craft a unique treatment plan that considers your history and your needs.

During your outpatient rehab intake, you’ll review your medical and mental health history with a clinician to help determine the best treatment plan for you.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

It’s critical to treat your mental health as a whole with dual diagnosis treatment, including depression, anxiety, or other mental health problems. 

Many people who live with substance use disorder also have another mental health disorder, even if they don’t know it. Some examples of mental health disorders that commonly co-occur with addiction include:

  • Anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and social anxiety disorder (SAD)
  • Depressive disorders, including major depressive disorder (MDD), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and bipolar disorders (bipolar disorder types 1 or 2)
  • Psychotic disorders, including schizoaffective disorder and schizophrenia

Choose a treatment center that screens for dual diagnoses like these and provides treatment. Addressing your mental health along with your substance use problems is the best route to recovery.

Credentialed Treatment Professionals

Choose a treatment center that works with credentialed treatment professionals to provide the best possible addiction care. Look for an outpatient center that’s open about sharing the experience and licensing of their clinical care team. The credentialed professionals who provide your care may include:

  • Behavioral health technicians
  • Counselors
  • Licensed Practical Nurses
  • Psychologists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Social workers
  • Therapists

Continuum of Care

Your substance use problem doesn’t exist in a bubble. Choose a treatment center that uses the continuum of care to inform the way they treat you. 

The continuum of care is the full spectrum of areas where treatment can benefit you, including care in biological, psychological and social areas. It also includes what happens before and after addiction treatment, such as detox referrals or aftercare plans.

Family Programs

If you live with family, they can be a valuable resource in treatment… and it’s important to remember that they need support too. You and your family members may both feel like you have unmet needs, but you have no idea how to articulate or meet the needs.

That’s common in families with addiction. Outpatient family programs can meet those needs by:

  • Empowering you to repair family relationships
  • Giving your family tools to cope with your disorder
  • Teaching important relationship skills
  • Helping you understand how substance use affects your family
  • Providing a neutral third party and a safe talking space

Anyone living with addiction who also lives with family should consider attending a family program as part of their outpatient regimen. Substance use disorder can be hard on families, and family programs help bring them back together with therapy and education.

Selection of Treatments and Therapies

For the best outcome, pick a treatment center that offers a wide variety of treatments and therapies. The average treatment plan includes several treatments that work together to provide synergy and cover every aspect of your disorder.

For instance, cognitive-behavioral therapy is effective on its own, but many people find it works even better with 12 Steps and medication-assisted treatment.

Your treatment center’s treatment roster should include dual diagnosis treatment for any mental health disorders that co-occur with addiction. That may include anxiety and mood disorders, as well as psychotic disorders and personality disorders.

Choosing an outpatient center with a big treatment roster means it’s easier to mix and match therapy types, so your clinical team is more likely to hit upon the perfect combination.

Types of Outpatient Programs in Massachusetts

Curious about your outpatient options? Believe it or not, all outpatient programs are not equal. The right program depends on your needs, your drug use history, your relapse history, and more.

You may have an idea already which program you want to enter, but don’t worry if you still don’t know. It’s your intake team’s job to help you decide.

You may enter multiple different programs at different times. For instance, some people start with intensive outpatient or partial hospitalization and “downgrade” to outpatient rehab when their condition stabilizes.

The main types of outpatient programs in MA include:

12 Steps Program

The 12 Steps program shares a foundation with the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous program that was introduced in the 1930s.

At first, 12 Steps programs were only for members of Alcoholics Anonymous. Now, the same treatment framework is used for all kinds of substance use disorder. Today, there are over 200 unique 12 Steps programs all over the world, all following the same framework and working toward a common goal of recovery.

The modern version of 12 Steps involves working toward reaching these goals:

  • Admitting that you can’t control your substance use disorder
  • Believing in a strength-giving higher power (if you’re not spiritual, this power doesn’t have to be a god or a deity of any kind)
  • Examining and challenging your past behavior, typically with the help of a sponsor
  • Living your life by a new moral code
  • Helping others who live with the same struggles as you, including substance use disorder or a trauma history

These are the goalposts set by the American Psychological Association Dictionary of Psychology, but different 12 Steps groups may modify them based on group needs. The 12 “steps” are built around reaching these goals, but the actual steps are different from group to group. There are many ways to do 12 Steps and they’re all valid!

You can attend 12 Steps in any of these ways:

  • As part of an outpatient rehab program
  • As part of an intensive outpatient program
  • As part of a partial hospitalization program
  • Outside of treatment as aftercare

Outpatient Rehab Program

Outpatient rehab programs give you the flexibility you need to manage your care while living your life—but they don’t sacrifice the high-level addiction care you need.

A 4-phase outpatient rehab program starts you at Phase 1 with the most intensive program. As you progress through treatment, you’ll move through 4 phases of treatment. These phases gradually prepare you for adapting to a life in recovery.

Here’s what this type of outpatient rehab program may look like:

  • Phase 1: This is the most intensive phase of treatment. During Phase 1, you attend the Partial Hospitalization Program 5 days a week, up to 6 hours a day.
  • Phase 2: This is the first of two transitional phases. You’ll decrease your treatment sessions to 3 or 4 times weekly. At the same time, you’ll start managing responsibilities like job-seeking.
  • Phase 3: During the next transitional phase, you’ll still attend treatment a couple times weekly while attending work or school (or tending other responsibilities).
  • Phase 4: At this point, you’re fully transitioned to life in recovery. Your treatment consists of weekly group and individual therapy.

Partial Hospitalization Program

The Partial Hospitalization Program is the most intensive outpatient treatment option. You’ll attend treatment full-time during the week, returning home after sessions end for the day.

During treatment, you’ll receive intensive addiction care that may include:

  • Educational sessions
  • Counseling
  • Therapy, including individual and group therapy

Most people who enter outpatient treatment should start with partial hospitalization. Spending more time in treatment maximizes the benefit that you get from it, and the long days in PHP help you make the most of your time there. Starting with intensive treatment builds a strong foundation for the rest of your recovery.


When you graduate from treatment, you should have an aftercare plan in place. That can be a program that you participate in or a personal lifestyle change that you commit to.

Either way, your aftercare serves these purposes:

  • It helps you maintain your mental and physical health
  • It helps you learn and practice coping skills for recovery

Your aftercare may include any of the following:

  • Addiction coaching
  • Continuing outpatient treatment
  • Counseling
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Individual or group therapy
  • Support groups

Aftercare is highly individual, so pick and choose the tools that work for you. If you’re unsure, then your clinical team will help you formulate a plan.

How to Use Your Insurance to Pay for Outpatient Treatment

If you have health insurance, then the chances are good that you can use your insurance to pay for outpatient treatment. That includes health insurance through:

  • Self-pay
  • The Healthcare Marketplace
  • Your employer
  • Medicare or Medicaid

Substance use disorder is considered a preexisting disorder, and those are covered under healthcare plans that aren’t temporary (e.g. buying single-term insurance wouldn’t help you, but getting insurance at work would).

Some insurance companies that may cover addiction treatment include:

  • Aetna
  • Anthem
  • CVS Health
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • UnitedHealthcare
  • Humana

To get the specifics about addiction treatment coverage under your plan, call the phone number for Member Services on the back of your Member ID card. The actual coverage varies depending on your group and BIN, so be prepared to have those ready if your card includes them.

Most Popular Questions in Massachusetts

If you still have questions about outpatient rehab, we have a few more answers for you! These are the most-asked questions about outpatient treatment in MA:

Who is a good candidate for outpatient treatment in Massachusetts?

Many people who meet the criteria for a substance use disorder are good candidates for outpatient treatment. That criteria includes:

  • Taking a substance in larger amounts than intended
  • Wanting to cut down or stop, but being unable to
  • Spending increasing amounts of time getting or using substances
  • Having cravings for the substance that can be unmanageable
  • Not meeting your responsibilities at work, school or home because of substances
  • Using substances even when it damages your relationships
  • Giving up things you used to enjoy to use substances
  • Using substances even when it’s dangerous to your health
  • Needing larger amounts of the substance to get the same effect
  • Getting withdrawal symptoms when you stop using substances

It takes 2 symptoms from the above list to meet the criteria for mild SUD. Four or 5 symptoms indicate moderate SUD, and 6 or more symptoms mean you have severe SUD.

If you have severe SUD, then outpatient treatment may not be the right choice for you (or maybe it is.) Some people with SUD need more structure than an outpatient can provide. You should talk to your doctor to know if outpatient is the right fit for you.

What should you do to prepare for outpatient treatment in MA?

You should prepare for outpatient treatment by detoxing. When outpatient treatment does not include detox, it’s still important to stop using drugs or alcohol before your treatment begins.

Using drugs while you’re going to treatment can derail and delay your recovery, and detox helps reduce that possibility. A medical detox program can help you detox safely. Talk to your care team at Northeast Addictions Treatment Center for a detox referral.

Why should you choose outpatient rehab over inpatient?

For some people, outpatient rehab offers the necessary flexibility to recover from substance use disorder while managing day-to-day life. 

If you can’t take leave from work or leave your children behind to attend inpatient, outpatient rehab means that treatment is still an option. Entering outpatient rehab can be the difference between accepting a bad situation and changing your life.

Why Choose Northeast Addictions Treatment Center?

You should consider Northeast Addictions Treatment Center because we offer evidence-based treatment that follows the continuum of care. 

Our accredited drug and alcohol rehab programs can transform your life, including day treatment and intensive outpatient treatment. From partial hospitalization to aftercare, we’ll help you navigate the transition back to everyday life as you move through 4 phases of tailored treatment.

It’s important to recover in an environment that makes you feel comfortable and safe. At Northeast Addictions Treatment Center, our integrated clinical team offers compassionate outpatient care in a family-like environment at our homelike Quincy, MA location.

Written by
Northeast Addition Editorial Team

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This page does not provide medical advice.

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