Serious Addiction: Fighting the Opioid Crisis in Massachusetts

Massachusetts is in a public health emergency. From 2012 to 2014, the State saw a 65% increase in the number of deaths associated with opioid overdoses. In 2015, the number of deaths rose again by 18%. The statistics are frightening and the impact on our communities cannot be underestimated.

At Sanofi Genzyme, we recognize our impact on the outside world, and we try to ensure it's a positive one. So, when our neighbors at The Dimock Center approached us for help battling the ever-increasing opioid crisis in Massachusetts, we wanted to help.

Rob, a resident of Massachusetts, used drugs recreationally as a young teenager but later stopped when he became a father at the age of 17. In 2010, after years of being clean, Rob was in a car accident caused by a drunk driver. The accident left Rob’s hand seriously injured and him in a lot of pain. To help cope, Rob’s doctor prescribed oxycontin. After taking it for some time, his doctor determined it was time to stop and abruptly halted treatment. This abrupt halt did not work for Rob. He had become addicted to oxycontin and, now without a prescription, he would do whatever was necessary to get drugs. “I just kept using drugs, oxy and then heroin, which I injected,” recalled Rob. “I sold drugs and stole to get the money I needed to buy drugs.” Rob’s life was spinning out of control and he felt hopeless. But, thankfully, he did not give up. Instead, he was lucky enough to have somewhere to turn before he too became a part of the statistic. Rob found The Dimock Center.


Above, Rob, former client of The Dimock Center substance abuse recovery program. Rob is now a Recovery Specialist in their detox center.

The Dimock Center, located in Boston, is the State’s largest provider of substance abuse, mental health and developmental disability services within a community health center setting. The Center is recognized nationally as a model for comprehensive urban health and human services.

“Dimock keeps pace with the needs of the community it serves. The relationship between a patient and the first person they meet in the health care system is often at Dimock. It’s important that we nurture the relationship, build trust in that relationship and deliver good information and good support to that person so they can get what they need,” said Fletcher Wiley, Dimock Community Foundation Board Chairman.

A common purpose

Both The Dimock Center and Sanofi Genzyme share a common purpose: Build trust and deliver hope to the patients we serve. We have a long history of finding opportunities to support the communities where we have a business presence, with the specific goal of supporting organizations that promote and provide access to health care. So, when The Dimock Center reached out to us for help keeping its vital substance abuse treatment services intact - directly effecting people like Rob - the collaboration made perfect sense.

Watch The Dimock Center's story

“Supporting The Dimock Centers’ efforts is such an important and immediate need,” said David Meeker, Head of Sanofi Genzyme. “Substance abuse is something that has impacted almost everyone in some way, and as a company founded on the principles of meeting unmet needs for patients, we feel the urgency to join the effort to address this pressing medical and social crisis.”

Our financial contribution helped the Center increase the number of rehabilitation beds from 30 to 40, giving The Dimock Center the ability to care for approximately 1,000 more people annually. The Center will also use the funds raised to renovate its current infrastructure, giving them the ability to better provide for its patients and community members. The project is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2016.

As a company founded on the principles of meeting unmet needs for patients, we feel the urgency to join the effort to address this pressing medical and social crisis.
David Meeker, former Executive Vice President and Head of Sanofi Genzyme

“Sanofi Genzyme’s support is transformative,” said Dr. Myechia Minter-Jordan, President and CEO of The Dimock Center. “The company is deeply committed to supporting people in recovery from substance abuse and recognizes the critical need for expanding access to lifesaving services. Sanofi Genzyme’s generous donation will help us serve more patients in the state-of-the-art center and strengthen our renowned substance abuse treatment model. We are incredibly grateful for our partnership and look forward to building on our efforts together.”

Today, due in large part to his treatment at The Dimock Center, Rob is drug free. But the road to recovery was not an easy one. In all, Rob detoxed at The Dimock Center 14 times before finally coming to terms with his addiction. “People think you go through detox once and that’s all you need. But detox alone is not enough – people in recovery need ongoing support, gradually gaining more independence as we work through our recovery and gain strength, confidence and life skills. That’s why Dimock works,” said Rob. He went on to explain that Dimock provides support both during and after detox, creating a foundation for better success. “[I] really benefited from the structure, support and being around other men going through the same thing as me. We supported each other. And I’m proud that I was able to give that support to my “brothers” in the program, because that’s what we were – a family.”

Rob now works at The Dimock Center as a Recovery Specialist and Case Manager in the detox program, a job that helps him remain focused on staying drug-free while also allowing him to use his skills to help others. “I can help others get through this first part of their recovery by letting them know what is happening to their bodies and minds and telling them that they can do it - and showing them that I did.”

In addition to rehabilitation services, The Dimock Center provides health maintenance, screening, and prevention programs as well as child and family services.


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