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When Maria Curtis’s son was released from a McLean treatment program, she was so impressed by the follow-up he received that she and her husband John made a gift to the hospital, directing it to help patients during their early recovery. Their generosity was enormously appreciated, says Roger D. Weiss, MD, chief of McLean’s Center of Excellence in Substance Use Disorders. Dr. Weiss knows better than anyone the importance of those precarious first days, weeks, and months. “People are at their most vulnerable right after discharge,” he explained. “Follow up is critical and dramatically increases the likelihood of staying in recovery.”
McLean’s world-class center of excellence has benefited from philanthropy like the Curtis’ as well as gifts from donors who have funded family support groups and specialized training to develop clinicians’ expertise in treating co-occurring disorders.
McLean is a leader in caring for people who experience psychiatric illness alongside a substance use disorder and has pioneered treatments that address the complex interplay between the two.
For example, R. Kathryn McHugh, PhD, has developed and is validating an evidence-based treatment for people struggling with anxiety and opioid use disorder. “It’s one of the most difficult co-occurrences to treat,” said Dr. Weiss. “The medications we use to treat anxiety are potentially addictive and therefore risky for this population. You need a behavioral treatment that addresses both disorders simultaneously as well as the interaction between them.”
The wide range of innovative treatment, research, and training at McLean maintains the hospital’s position as a leader in this field. “There is still so much to do, but McLean is up to the challenge,” said Dr. Weiss.