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IAFF Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Treatment & Recovery

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Firefighters and paramedics experience life’s most difficult situations daily. Post-traumatic stress disorder with co-occurring substance abuse is a major issue in fire houses across North America. The IAFF Center of Excellence is dedicated to assisting firefighters and emergency medical technicians struggling with these behavioral health challenges.

Our Partnership with IAFF

At Advanced Recovery Systems, our main focus is helping our clients regain control after substance use disorder has derailed their lives. Through evidence-based methods and decades of combined experience among our staff, the treatment centers in the ARS portfolio are top-flight centers for health and wellness. Certain populations face a higher risk for addiction and behavioral health issues than others. The brave men and women who serve as firefighters and paramedics are some of the people most at risk for PTSD and co-occurring substance use disorders. In fact, firefighters and paramedics experience PTSD and substance use disorders at twice the rate of the general population. That’s why our partnership with the International Association of Fire Fighters makes sense. As North America’s major firefighter’s labor union, the organization represents more than 303,000 firefighters and paramedics in the United States and Canada. The result of our partnership: The IAFF Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Treatment and Recovery, a first-of-its-kind rehabilitation center designed especially for and by firefighters.

The Setting

Choosing a location to build a rehabilitation center can be difficult; addiction doesn’t discriminate and isn’t bound to one area. The IAFF Center of Excellence is located in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, a forested, serene town just 30 minutes east of Washington, D.C., near the Chesapeake Bay. Ease of travel is key in getting our clients the help they need, and the center is located only one hour from Washington Dulles International Airport. The IAFF Center of Excellence is near a major city, but its location is secluded enough to maximize the restorative power of nature.

A Caring, Qualified Team of Professionals

Advanced Recovery Systems places great pride on its rehab center administration teams. These individuals are among the most qualified in their field with combined decades of expertise in behavioral health treatment. Our staff at the IAFF Center of Excellence is passionate about helping our public servants so they can get back to helping others.

Tim Craig, Operations Director

Tim Craig’s 30 years of experience in health care administration and his enthusiasm for serving those with substance use disorders makes him the perfect individual to conduct the center’s day-to-day operations. Craig holds a master’s degree in social work and a certificate in social administration from the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

Dr. Abby Morris, Medical Director

As the head of treatment program development at the IAFF Center of Excellence, Dr. Abby Morris takes great pride in her role. She is a graduate of Georgetown University School of Medicine and previously directed a 24-bed substance use disorder treatment facility.  

Comprehensive Treatment Services

The evidence-based, multidisciplinary care provided at Advanced Recovery Systems is essential to achieving positive outcomes for our clients. In our partnership with IAFF, we have incorporated our clinical models into specialized programming for firefighters struggling with PTSD and other co-occurring disorders. A multidisciplinary approach combines the expertise of doctors, nurses, therapists, dietitians and nutritionists to treat the whole person, not just the disease. Evidence-based treatment means each step our clients take toward recovery is backed by scientific research. The programming at the IAFF Center of Excellence offers clients:
  • Medically supervised detox
  • Medication-assisted therapy
  • Physical exams and regular health check-ins with a physician
  • 12-step therapy sessions with other firefighters
Time is of the essence once our clients are admitted to the IAFF Center of Excellence. We want you feeling better as soon as possible. Within 24 hours of admission, you’ll meet with your physician and therapist to develop an individualized treatment plan to maximize your progress toward recovery.

Daily Life at the IAFF Center of Excellence

Part of success in long-term recovery is learning to live a healthy and fulfilling life. That’s why we’ve integrated recreation and community-building into the programs at the IAFF Center of Excellence. You can expect the following amenities at the 15-acre IAFF Center of Excellence campus:
  • Outdoor pavilions for reflection, journaling and enjoying nature
  • Life skills, yoga and fitness classes
  • A full-service gym to maintain physical health
  • Basketball courts
  • Swimming pool
  • Family-style dining and bunks
We want our clients to feel at home, which is why the design of the center has the look and feel of a fire station, right down to the artwork and furnishings. Participating in healthy hobbies and structured activity time with your IAFF brothers and sisters will solidify friendships and support systems that can last long after discharge from rehab.

Alumni Mentoring and Return-to-Work Support

When it’s possible, our main goal is to help firefighters and paramedics return to doing the job they love. In order to achieve this, the IAFF Center of Excellence places great importance on supporting our clients after they leave rehab. Two ways we’ve achieved this: alumni mentoring and aftercare support.
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    Alumni Mentoring

    When new firefighters come into the fire station, they are mentored by seasoned firefighters. Similarly, graduates of the IAFF Center of Excellence program are invited to come back and build relationships with those currently in the program. The bonds of trust and camaraderie built in the alumni mentorship program can last well into long-term recovery.
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    Aftercare Support

    Adjusting to life outside of rehab and going back to the fire station can be a challenge for some. That’s why the programs we’ve developed with IAFF are designed to help with that transition.
After discharge from the center, you’ll receive:
  • Referrals to outside physicians, therapists or counselors as needed
  • Peer support through 12-step programs and groups in your community
  • A relapse prevention plan
  • Return-to-work planning and support
Rehab is all about gaining the tools you need for a successful and healthy life. With the behavioral health expertise of Advanced Recovery Systems and the support from your IAFF brothers and sisters, long-term recovery is possible and achievable.

Contact Us

IAFF Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Treatment & Recovery
13400 Edgemeade Rd., Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
(301) 327-1955 iaffrecoverycenter.com