ABOUT NORTH COTTAGE PROGRAM, INC.
Located in the small town of Norton, Mass., North Cottage Program, Inc. provides residential treatment for adult men who are struggling with substance abuse at the earliest stages of recovery. The facility offers a range of services including its short-term Intensive Treatment Program (ITP), halfway housing, and sober living accommodations.
To be eligible for treatment, clients must be residents of Massachusetts and have at least seven days of abstinence from drugs or alcohol. Additionally, they must voluntarily seek admission, have no contagious infections or unresolved legal matters, and a referral from a detoxification rehabilitation program. Within the state, North Cottage Program is among 25.9 percent of substance abuse treatment facilities that provide long-term care and among 52.7 percent with specially tailored programs for adult men.
TREATMENT & ASSESSMENT
The initial assessment at North Cottage Program includes an evaluation of each client’s substance abuse history and screenings for mental illness. Individuals experiencing psychosis, suicidal ideation, or violent thoughts or behavior will not be admitted to the program. Applicants also are required to participate in drug screenings, including an observed urine test.
During treatment, which typically lasts four to six months, clients are restricted from working or driving, unless permitted by staff. Treatment utilizes evidence-based methods that are administered within the framework of the 12-step model of recovery. Clients participate in a variety of therapeutic activities, including individual and group therapy, educational seminars, 12-step work, and sports and recreation. Within the state, North Cottage Program is among 70.4 percent of substance abuse treatment facilities that provide 12-step facilitation.
ITP, the initial phase of treatment, focuses on stabilizing clients. It accommodates 50 clients, who typically stay 60 to 90 days. During ITP’s two highly structured phases, clients are assigned to a counselor who guides them through the early stages of the program and provides case management services. Clients engage in at least one hour of one-on-one therapy and seven hours of group counseling per week, at least one discussion group, a 13-part series of educational seminars, two weekly meetings on the principles of self-help including Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, and community-based self-help meetings every evening.
Once they complete ITP, clients transition to the Halfway House second phase of the program for up to 180 days of support. Residents continue to receive individual and group counseling, educational seminars, and attend 12-step meetings, but on a less frequent basis. At this stage of treatment, clients may apply for driving, employment, and overnight privileges. Upon discharge, clients may transition to sober living accommodations, which offer supervision and support, but bring clients closer to their goal of independent living.
North Cottage Program is licensed by the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services of the Department of Public Health of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Staff includes counselors, case managers, treatment specialists, and administrative personnel. To date, the five individuals polled on the matter generally appreciated the aptitude of staff.
Staff Experience and Training: 3.6/5
ACCOMMODATIONS & AMENITIES
North Cottage Program operates several housing units. Clients in the Phase I ITP or Phase II Halfway House levels of treatment may use a separate multiphase unit facility with 31 beds, where they stay throughout the course of treatment. The Halfway House program can accommodate 65 men, while sober living residences accommodate a total of 105 residents: two Grad Houses with 55 and 34 beds and a separate Art Studio with five single rooms. Another sober living facility in Attleboro, Mass. houses 13 men.
North Cottage Program, a smoke-free environment, does not permit tobacco use on-site, and smokers are required to quit smoking before being admitted. The five individuals polled on the matter appreciated the maintenance of the facilities.
Cleanliness and Upkeep: 4/5
WHAT ALUMNI SAY
At the time of this writing, the three alumni polled by Rehabs.com about North Cottage Program submitted mostly favorable feedback. All would recommend the center to others and awarded mainly positive ratings to a series of survey metrics, including mostly four and perfect five-star ratings for connectivity/visitor policy, facility cleanliness and upkeep, and staff experience and training. Holistic offerings proved the exception by receiving mainly below-average ratings, indicating that these reviewers saw the need for improvement.
These former clients had high praise for the staff, especially the counselors. “The counsellors and staff genuinely care for the clients welfare and make a concerted effort to see to their needs,” W.F.Z. wrote, which was echoed by K.M.C.: “Excellent counseling most through 12 steps of recovery.” Similarly, they considered the program and experience outstanding, as reflected by W.F.Z., who added: “The best treatment facility in our nation!” and K.M.C., who corroborated that the “Program is a wonderful bridge to sobriety.”
The third reviewer appreciated that the program was “very Gay friendly.” Despite overall positive impressions of the center, these former clients were critical of the food and “crowded long waiting list,” as expressed by the anonymous reviewer: “Poor food menu, client sleeping quarters are old and not updated, not air conditioning for summer and out dated heating system for winter.”
On secondary sites, North Cottage Program received predominantly positive coverage to date: perfect five stars based on 11 reviews on Google and 4.6 out of five stars based on 67 reviews on the center’s unofficial Facebook page.   Of note, all reviews on Google were the top five stars, as were almost all on Facebook.
Numerous alumni described their North Cottage Program experience as lifesaving, the staff as kind, caring, and dedicated, and the center overall as the best, as reflected by N.V. on Facebook, who wrote: “The place is beautiful very well kept. Food is great and they have excellent counselling therapy groups and education.”
On Google, several reviewers wrote about the center in superlative terms, such as P.C., who described it as: “Best program in the state…Fact!!!,” a sentiment echoed by M.F.: “Excellent Rehabilitation Facility!,” and by yet another reviewer as: “The North Cottage has GOT to be the greatest program in North America, possibly the greatest program on the planet!”
WHAT FRIENDS & FAMILY SAY
To date, the three loved ones polled by Rehabs.com submitted mixed reviews. All had both good and bad things to say about North Cottage Program. They were split on treatment effectiveness, but awarded positive ratings for its accommodations and amenities, and both high and low ratings for meals and nutrition. B.V. suggested to Rehabs.com the facility should offer alternatives to 12-Step because “AA does not work for everyone,” and another loved one noted it “Could use more holistic offerings.” N.O. framed the program in positive terms and added: “It was great till the end,” though reporting a negative outcome for their loved one.
According to the facility’s website, clients with income are expected to make a co-payment of 50 percent of their income, up to $102.53 a day.
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