National News

New rehab center catering to teens in Tempe

Posted August 7

— A new treatment facility in Tempe is taking on a different approach to help young people struggling with addiction.

Elm Tree Recovery opened its doors this past February to help older teens and young adults. Those in charge of the facility said their recovery process consists of many different layers, starting with the training of the clinical staff-- which must be master or doctorate-level clinicians.

As for the young people that join the program, besides academic and life-skills training and coaching, they are taught to re-train their brain and their outlook on life-- it's something that young adults say is critical in their recovery.

Kate, Steve and Greg are battling addiction and currently undergoing treatment at the facility. For privacy reasons, we're only using these names.

"I didn't want to live anymore," said Kate, a teen at the recovery center.

Steve, reiterated those feelings, "I had nothing to live for basically," he said.

"I just had no control over myself and my life. My life had become absolutely unimaginable," said Greg.

Kate, Steve and Greg said they felt hopeless until they found Elm Tree Recovery.

"It has brought me a new way of life," said Kate.

"They're setting me up for something great," said Steve.

"This place has really helped me get a grasp over my life again," said Greg.

One of the new approaches is that they've made the living quarters look more apartment-style or dorm-like, which helps the residents feel like they're not in a facility-like environment.

"We're not just taking away the substance, we're also introducing something new into their lives. We can really focus on how to help them initiate into their adult life and leave some of their more destructive behaviors or patterns behind them," said Adam McLean, Executive Director of Elm Tree Recovery. "With the current opioid epidemic happening, roughly, throughout the country there are about 144 people who will die from an overdose every day. Those staggering statistics indicate we need to do something to help these people."

McLean said that with proper treatment, the brain can be re-trained.

"And you can actually heal the brain rather than just oh those persons are too far gone," McLean said.

Elm Tree Recovery is a longer-term facility-- typically, 3 to 6 months. It has only been open a few months, but McLean said that everyone who has completed the program has been successful thus far in their recovery.

"Here, I've learned that I am worth it, I can do these things and it is possible," Kate said.

"I have hope, now. It's amazing," Steve said.

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