Mass. addiction treatment faces a staffing 'crisis.' Rep. Clark says this program will help

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Workplace shortages are affecting several industries, including addiction treatment.

In western Massachusetts, Dr. Ruth Potee says a shortage of workers — especially nurses — is delaying the opening of at least one planned addiction treatment facility. Potee is director of addiction services at Behavioral Health Network.

"Some of it is licensing requirements but we don't have enough nurses to staff it, and it's a crisis because we can't open without those nurses," Potee says. "So the timing of this is terrible, there's a massive opioid overdose crisis and there's not the workforce to really manage it."

A federal government initiative called the Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Recovery Loan Repayment Program (STAR LRP) seeks to address the shortage by offering loan repayment to workers in addiction treatment.

Massachusetts Rep. Katherine Clark helped bring the program to life. She joins WBUR's Morning Edition host Deborah Becker to discuss.

This segment aired on April 15, 2022.


Deborah Becker Host/Reporter
Deborah Becker is a senior correspondent and host at WBUR. Her reporting focuses on mental health, criminal justice and education.


Hafsa Quraishi Associate Producer, Here & Now
Hafsa Quraishi is an associate producer for Here & Now.



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