Rehab or Bust: A Guide to L.A.'s Drug and Alcohol Treatment Centers 

Wednesday, Jun 25 2008

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Founded in 1971, Cri-Help has 120 beds in North Hollywood. This nonprofit charges $5k a month, but 51 percent of its patients pay nothing. Nada. For this, they receive detox, residential housing, full meals, bilingual services, individual and group counseling, daily 12-step meetings, grief and loss guidance, family support, acupuncture, EEG biofeedback, psychiatric evaluation and treatment for co-recurring disorders. Director Marlene Nadel is a guardian angel. Best 10-day detox in town, say most rock & roll veterans.


click to enlarge KEVIN SCANLON

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When it opened in 2002, Harmony Place billed itself as “a comfortable place to do difficult work.” It now charges $47,500 for 28 days of that difficult work. According to Director of Admissions Don Grant, they recently switched from coed to all-women and moved out of Malibu into their “tranquil manor” located on “a country-estate property hidden” in Woodland Hills. Good luck finding them. Harmony Place lists Dr. Robert Waldman on staff — plus 27 women. This guy is either the busiest or luckiest doctor in all of Malibu. Possibly both.

(Trivia: Grant was (un)wittingly featured in a piece on The Daily Show shot in the rehab, featuring Samantha Bea pleading with him to help “exhausted celebrities.”)


Dr. Drew Pinsky is program medical director of the chemical-dependency unit at Las Encinas Hospital, in Pasadena. Better known as Dr. Drew from his straight talk on MTV and radio’s Loveline, and now fortunately or unfortunately from VH-1’s Celebrity Rehab, Pinsky is one of the nation’s leading experts on addiction. Hospital rehabs require a higher certification from the state of California, and Las Encinas is a place with a great reputation. “We’re where the buck stops,” Pinsky says. The combination of Dr. Drew and Clinical Director Bob Forrest, a recovering addict and former front man for Thelonius Monster, give Las Encinas enormous street cred among the addicted Hollywood rock & roll traveling circus.


Pinsky, a vigorous supporter of 12-step programs, feels too much emphasis is placed (and too much money is spent) on residential rehabs. “We have some things that make sobriety possible. We help people into sobriety, but nobody makes somebody sober.”


This place is for men only, so if you went to Harmony Place and were turned away, this may be the rehab for you, dudes. Looks luxurious. Founded by Steve Zamarripa, a wealthy Southern California businessman, La Ventana opened its doors in September 2007. No Ipods, cell phones or MP3 players are allowed. Tough guys, huh? Patients are urged not to bring books. Not even Iron John by Robert Bly? They say they’ll supply the blankets and sheets, but you’re welcome to bring your favorite pillow. 



The staff at Malibu Horizon will meet you at the airport. “Can other rehab centers in Los Angeles say the same thing?” Apparently not, or I guess they wouldn’t promote the fact. Specializes in opiate detox and the perk that you can keep your laptop and cell phone while in treatment. Featured on MTV’s I Won’t Love You Death: The Story of Mario and His Mom, Twelve Steps optional.


The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming! Dr. Yakov Marshak, who founded the Marshak Clinic in Moscow in 1997, recently trademarked the so-called Marshak Method, which supposedly uses DNA genetic testing to “target and control biochemical imbalances in the brain.” Yikes. Marshak believes in French food, yoga and counseling. Good luck. He insists he was “invited by Alcoholics Anonymous to join the very first group of Russian professionals to be trained in the United States by [the organization].” Was located near Malibu Canyon Road and PCH, but recent fire damage has forced them to temporarily retreat to another plush pad in the region. 



Promises broken? Founded in 1989 as Malibu’s first luxury rehab, of late, the granddaddy of celeb recovery has been hit with a string of public relations setbacks. With the recent revolving door of fickle celebrities and lawsuits regarding the treatment center’s billing practices, it’s been taking a beating in the press. Promises actually comprises two separate but unequal facilities: the cush celebrity fave in Malibu, which starts at $49k for 30 days; and the lesser-known W. Los Angeles rehab, which goes for a bargain $35k for 90 days. I recently learned that its owner and founder, Richard Rogg, has sold his majority share in the center for more than $30 million to Fraser Healthcare Ventures, a behavioral health-care industry investor. According to sources, Rogg had been quietly shopping the rehab for months, having turned down an offer of $23 million from Castle Harlan, a private equity boutique. Rogg is staying on as director of development while turning over the administrative reins to Dr. David Sack, M.D., from the Aspen Education Group. He practices addiction psychiatry and addiction medicine. Most importantly to area junkies, Sack is licensed to administer Suboxone, the opiate blocker of choice for the nouvea addicté.

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