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Lowell House Addiction Treatment and Recovery Awarded a Unique Four-Year Grant for Recovery Coaching Academy

Lowell MA, June 17, 2019 - Lowell House Addiction Treatment and Recovery is one of 100 local nonprofits to receive grants of $100,000 each through the Cummings Foundation's "100K for 100" program. The Lowell-based organization was chosen from a total of 574 applicants during a competitive review process.

Lowell House ATR is a 47-year-old cornerstone of the service provider community in Merrimack Valley providing a variety of outpatient, day-treatment, case management, residential recovery, sober and transitional housing programs. Recovery coaching and the new Recovery Café are two major initiatives of the organization in recent years.

Maria Lucci, the Division Director for Ambulatory Care and Amanda Shaw, the Senior Director for Peer Recovery and Community Outreach, joined approximately 300 other guests at a reception at Trade Center 128 in Woburn to celebrate the $10 million infusion into Greater Boston's nonprofit sector. With the conclusion of this grant cycle, Cummings Foundation has now awarded more than $260 million to Greater Boston nonprofits alone.

Bill Garr, Lowell House CEO, said that "this amazing Cumming's grant moves us years closer to providing the supports that individuals with substance use disorder need to sustain long term recovery. The Cummings Foundation has given a major gift to the City of Lowell and the surrounding communities in Merrimack Valley."

The $100K for 100 program supports nonprofits that are based in and primarily serve Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk counties. Through this place-based initiative, Cummings Foundation aims to give back in the area where it owns commercial buildings, all of which are managed, at no cost to the Foundation, by its affiliate Cummings Properties. Founded in 1970 by Bill Cummings, the Woburn -based commercial real estate firm leases and manages 10 million square feet of space, the majority of which exclusively benefits the Foundation.

"By having such a local focus, we aim to make a meaningful positive difference in the communities where our colleagues and leasing clients live and work," said Joel Swets, Cummings Foundation's executive director. "We are most grateful for the nonprofit organizations that assist and empower our neighbors, and we are proud to support their efforts."

The new grant will allow Lowell House to hire a recovery coach trainer and supervisor who will form the foundation of a Recovery Coaching Academy and become a regional trainer for new Recovery Coaches. In addition to training many new recovery coaches, the grant will help to provide a new career opportunity for people in recovery with lived experience gain employment in the meaningful occupational role as a certified recovery coach.

This year's diverse group of grant recipients represents a wide variety of causes, including homelessness prevention, affordable housing, education, violence prevention, and food insecurity. Most of the grants will be paid over two to five years.

The complete list of 100 grant winners is available at

Cummings Foundation announced an additional $15 million in early May through its Sustaining Grants program. Through these awards, 50 local nonprofits will receive ongoing funding of $20,000 - $50,000 for 10 years.

The history behind Cummings Properties and Cummings Foundation is detailed in Bill Cummings' self-written memoir, "Starting Small and Making It Big: An Entrepreneur's Journey to Billion Dollar Philanthropist." It is available on Amazon or book.

Woburn-based Cummings Foundation, Inc. was established in 1986 by Joyce and Bill Cummings. The Foundation directly operates its own charitable subsidiaries, including New Horizons retirement communities in Marlborough and Woburn. Its largest single commitment to date has been to Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. Additional information is available at

Dr. Ruth Potee and the Voices of Recovery - A Truly Amazing Night!

From the Lowell Sun

Lowell House, a center dedicated to curbing substance abuse, sponsored the forum and invited police, government and medical representatives to set up tables to offer services before and after the event. In front of a crowd of roughly 150, Potee wanted to provide the basic information needed to help anyone struggling with an opioid addiction, including how to notice the signs and how to best deal with someone close who has a strong addiction.

The Lowell House also featured a panel of local people in various stages of recovery, and each spoke about their experiences to the large crowd at the Elks Club on Old Ferry Road. “People in our community are dying at a record rate. We will have a third more people die of overdoses than we did last year. Without the wonderful work of the people in our city — the health department, the police, the fire, our City Council and agencies like Lowell House — this would be far worse,” said Bill Garr, chief executive officer at Lowell House.

Download her slides by clicking the link below.

Talk to Parents at Schools - Addiction and Rising Opioid Use - Marijuana - Potee Main event (2016-12-08).pptx

Recovery Matters - Best New Cable Show

Lowell House's cable show "Recovery Matters" was named the best new cable show in Lowell by LTC. The twice monthly show covers a range of important topics on addiction and recovery including shows about why people become addicted and what to do if you find drugs in your child's room. Guests include everyone from DA Marian Ryan to Megan's House founder Tim Grover.The award was presented at an event at LTC on November 17th.

View Recovery Matters Episodes

Stigma-busting Moment at "Celebrate Recovery!" Breakfast

DA Program Aims to Help Addicts

Lowell House is about to embark on a new program as partners with DA Marian Ryan. The Addiction Diversion Alternatives Program or ADAP will target individuals with substance use disorder after they commit a minor crime but before they face prosecution. It will allow those individuals to focus on treatment, avoid a criminal record and move on to productive life. Read about the program in this recent Boston Herald Article:

The Massachusetts Opioid Epidemic  

The new Chapter 55 Report, just released by the Commonwealth, is chock full of information, data and graphics on the current opioid crisis. If you want to understand the facts behind the crisis and the consequences as a result of this epidemic down to town by town data, this will be a valuable read.

Facing Addiction in America 

"There is a strong scientific as well as moral case for addressing substance use disorders with a public health model that focuses on reducing both health and social justice disparities, and it aligns strongly with an economic case. Now is the time to make this change, for the health and well-being of all Americans."
---From the newly released Surgeon General's Report "Facing Addiction In America"

Read the full report

Sun: Stories of strength mark Lowell House celebration

By Prudence Brighton, Sun Correspondent

UPDATED:   04/04/2016 08:17:25 AM EDT


LOWELL -- The stories of addiction challenge us because "it is a problem we all have to face," U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas said Saturday night.

The stories of three women, in particular, were what helped Tsongas "begin to understand the depths of human suffering" caused by addiction.

The women who told those stories, Louise Griffin, Joanne Peterson and Melissa Weiksnar, were recognized Saturday night at the Living in the Light gala celebration marking the 45th anniversary of Lowell House.

The three were honored for their work as mother advocates in finding solutions to the scourge of addiction, while Tsongas received the Lowell House Lifetime Achievement award.

"This is the greatest trio of women I've ever seen," said Bill Garr, the executive director of Lowell House, which provides addiction support programs and services to Greater Lowell.

Peterson, of Raynham, is the mother of a son in long-term recovery and is the founder of Learn to Cope, a peer-support group for family members of those struggling with addictions. Peterson saw addiction as a young girl with siblings who struggled with substance abuse. Then as a mother, she saw her son experimenting with drugs and developing an opioid addiction.

"It's in my genetics," she said.

She founded Learn to Cope in 2004 in Randolph. It now has 23 chapters, mostly in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

A chapter recently opened in Idaho and soon one will open in Alaska.

In the beginning, members rotated meetings at their homes, often sitting on the porch of one of their houses. "We called ourselves the porch girls, and we still have those porch get-togethers," Peterson said.

Unfortunately, the numbers attending the meetings have grown. "We lost more people in the last year than I have ever seen," Peterson said.

Weiksnar, of Carlisle, compiled her daughter's journal entries into "Heroin's Puppet: The Rehab Journals of Amelia F. W. Caruso." Weiksnar gives frequent talks at schools and organizations about her daughter's ordeal and the perils of drug use.

Weiksnar has learned that students want science and real-life stories. She remembered a letter a student wrote after one of her talks: "What happened to you made me sad, but it opened my eyes." The writer went on to promise to stay away from drugs.

Louise Griffin, of Lowell, founded the Zack's Team Foundation after her son, Zachary Gys, died of an opiate overdose in 2013.

Griffin recounted the scarcity of beds in detox units across the state. "As the mother of an addict, your days are spent trying to find that one available detox bed. So we call and we call."

Saturday night's Living the Light Live Auction and Silent Auction were raised for Zack's Team. The foundation provides scholarships to help people with addictions afford long-term treatment. It is also partnering with Lowell House to open a sober-living home for men in the city.

Also on Saturday night, Sean Daniels, artistic director of the Merrimack Repertory Theatre, reprised his monologue in "The White Chip," a play he wrote about his own history of alcoholism. The play had its world premiere at MRT and will go on tour before it opens off Broadway in New York.

Daniels is also featured in a new video, "Everyone Knows Someone," which underscores the scope of the addiction epidemic. The video debuted at the event.

Read more:

The Massachusett's Department of Public Health has just published their updated numbers for "Fatal Opioid Related Deaths in Massachusetts" in 2014, and it's astounding!

August 7, 2015 - The Department of  Public Health issued updated numbers of deaths by opioid and heroin deaths in Massachusetts - the numbers are eye-opening. The number of unintentional deaths from these powerful and potent drugs has nearly doubled since 2012 and increased by 20% since the end of 2014. Statewide, 1256 individuals unintentionally lost their lives in this period; in Middlesex County, 214 people lost their lives to this epidemic as opposed to 106 in 2012. See the full statistical summary by clicking on this link:


The Governor's Opioid Working Group Publishes a Comprehensive and Far Reaching Report to the Governor and the Citizens of the Commonwealth

June 22, 2015 - The Governor's Opioid Working Group, after months of hearings, interviews, and meetings, has released their report with a comprehensive, well-researched report on solutions to the current opioid crisis plaguing communities like Lowell and surrounding towns. Here's a peek at the short-term ( six months to one year)  prioritized recommendations:

Prevention- Increase educational offerings for prescribers and patients to promote safe prescriber practices, Develop targeted educational materials for schools, Appoint members to the drug formulary commission, Integrate information about the risks of opioid use and misuse into school athletic programs, Conduct a public awareness campaign

Intervention - Improve the PMP, Outreach to prenatal and postpartum providers to increase screening for women with a substance use disorder, Improve reporting of overdose death data, Enhance data transparency including EMS data, Encourage naloxone to be co-prescribed with opioids, Amend civil commitment process, identify hot spots for targeted intervention, using EMS,hospital, and police data, Promote the Good Samaritan law

Treatment - Develop a central statewide database of available treatment services,Transfer section 35 civil commitment responsibility from DOC to EOHHS, Increase the number of office-based opioid treatment programs, Require DOI to issue bulletins on chapter 258 of the Acts of 2014 prior to Oct. 2015.Pilot recovery coaches in emergency rooms and hot spots, Bulk purchase opioid agonist and naltrexone therapies for correctional facilities, Add 100 new ATS/CSS Beds,  Open Recovery High School in Worcester.

Recovery - Promulgate chapter 257 rates for recovery homes effective July 2015, Establish a single point of accountability for addiction and recovery policy at EOHHS,  Suspend rather than terminate MassHealth Coverage during incarceration, Certify alcohol and drug free housing, Enforce the requirement that BSAStreatment programs accept patients on an opioid agonist therapy

To download the full report, please use the link below:



  • From the November 22, 2014 Economist, this article entitled The Great American Relapse does an excellent job of describing why we're in crisis over addictions in this country and why the Government is finally recognizing the problem.  The_Great_American_Relapse_-_the_Economist_11-22-2014.pdf
  • From the December 28, 2014 edition of the Boston Herald. Board of Directors officer Jan Plourde is awarded one of five statewide Mass Literacy Champions grants for the work of her nonprofit, REAL.Jan_Plourde_edited.pdf

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