The Ranch addiction center welcomes new executive director


It’s a new year and a new position for Patsy Shaffer who stood out from over 200 other applicants from across the country

FREDERICK, Md (WDVM) — The Ranch drug and alcohol treatment center in Frederick is welcoming a new executive director.

“This is what I love. I’ve done my whole career working with people that had problems with substance use or mental health issues. This is what feels like home to me,” said newly hired executive director, Patsy Shaffer.

It’s a new year and a new position for Patsy Shaffer who stood out from over 200 other applicants from across the country.

“Once I met her there was not a doubt in my mind. I knew we would really work well together and I really felt confident in her abilities,” explained program administrator, Beth Waddell.

Over the last 20 years, Shaffer has gained experience in drug and alcohol counseling and as an executive director of a treatment center in Pennsylvania.

What drew her to the ranch, Shaffer says, is the combination of on-site halfway housing and an outpatient program for those in recovery.

“So [patients] are able to stay here on the ranch with halfway housing and also receive the outpatient services with that. There’s not that many other programs that I’m aware of that have that all in the same area,” said Shaffer.

All but one of the 46 beds is filled with patients, and growing the number of beds available, is among Shaffer’s priorities.

The Ranch team is considering renovating unused buildings or constructing new buildings for added space.

“We are definitely going to be expanding because we want to offer those services to the citizens of not just Frederick but the entire state,” said Shaffer.

And on the 204-acre property, Shaffer says there are “so many opportunities” to grow. She’s also putting her mind to the idea of increasing mental health services. Those services are offered on-site by a contracted provider and Shaffer says “I would like to see that expand.”

Shaffer is also considering the direction that the treatment field is heading, which doesn’t just include abstinence-only recovery, which is completely cutting off all forms of drugs and or alcohol, but also what’s called harm-reduction.

“Harm reduction could be you’re looking at someone who maybe they’re using opioids and they smoke marijuana. We don’t advocate for that, that’s not something we’re pushing for but it is a level of harm reduction that they’re not doing something that could seriously medically harm them. That is on a case-by-case basis too that we’re looking at those things,” Shaffer explained.

Prior to Shaffer’s hiring, Waddell held the position as interim director after Korey Shorb left the position of executive director.

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