A letter from the President & 2014 Board of Directors

Stephen W. Larcen

Stephen W. Larcen, Ph.D.,

President, Rushford and President, Hartford HealthCare, Behavioral Health Network

Four decades have passed since a group of like-minded Middlesex County leaders took action regarding the issue of alcohol addiction in their community.

From humble beginnings in a Middletown church basement, the organization known today as Rushford has emerged — a modern, evidence-based addiction and mental health recovery center of excellence employing the best in recovery programming, services and, of course, people.

Gus Rushford (Left) accepts an award from Connecticut Governor William O’Neill in 1982, just after the opening of the Gus Rushford Treatment Center.

Among those gathered at the very beginning as part of the board of directors of what was then the Tri-County Alcohol Council was Gus Rushford. A Portland, Connecticut native, Gus was in recovery from alcohol addiction. His passion was for helping others join him on recovery’s road. He is credited with organizing the first Alcoholics Anonymous group in Middletown in 1952. In 1975, he put his heart and soul into his long-time vision to establish a community-based residential treatment center for those needing recovery from addiction.

The reality has far exceeded Gus Rushford’s dream. Over these 40 years, the community presence of his namesake organization has enabled us to quickly identify community need trends, and respond accordingly by adding appropriate services to meet those needs. Mental health programming, addiction recovery, Latino services, behavioral health/ primary care integration, and prevention services have been grown. Service levels (inpatient, outpatient and residential) have expanded, and all ages from 11 through adults can be assisted in some way at Rushford.

Even today, as Connecticut sees a dramatic rise in heroin-related overdose deaths, Rushford has been swift to respond with additional detox beds at our Middletown facility, information and training for clients and their families and friends about the opioid antidote naloxone (Narcan™), increased medication-assisted treatment with Suboxone, and innovative school-based bullying prevention programming, all of which you will learn more about as you peruse the pages of this annual report. We also take a look back at highlights of the last 40 years with photos and memories from our archives.

The Tri-Country Alcohol Council home on Pleasant Street, Middletown, in 1978.

As you read about Rushford’s successes and triumphs, be reminded that they are a result of the hard work and dedication of truly wonderful staff, both past and present, which made Rushford the healthcare leader that it is today.

Yet the lasting testament to the work of the last four decades is in the stories — thousands of them — of the Rushford clients who today live lives of recovery, safe in the knowledge their hard work to achieve that recovery will always be supported by the people of Rushford.

It is as Gus Rushford envisioned it, many years ago. May it be so for many more years to come.

Rushford Board

Marie Allan > Robyn Anderson > Steven Basche > David Director > Tracy Ivers > Yves Joseph > Dr. Stephen Larcen > Kevin Leahy > Dr. Arthur McDowell > Tom Pastorello > Linda Worden, Chair

(as of June 30, 2015)