Assisted Recovery Centers of America (ARCA/MIRA) is a comprehensive behavioral health treatment provider operating drug and alcohol treatment centers located in St. Louis, Missouri that specialize in treating mental health issues coupled with chemical dependencies.
We understand the stress and anxiety of seeking treatment for alcohol or drug dependence. The situation is even more stressful when patients are seeking treatment after multiple relapses. The most common question that we are asked is, “How is your treatment program different, and will it work for me?”
We offer confidential, individualized treatment programs—and we mean it.
Each person is unique, and so we tailor each of our alcohol and drug treatment programs to fit the needs of the individual. Patients and their loved ones are encouraged to schedule an initial consultation with us, which can be a same-day appointment. A trained and knowledgeable member of our intake staff will meet with you. We will discuss your situation to gather a detailed understanding of the severity of the problem. We will consider employment and confidentiality issues during our initial assessment. Other factors will include legal issues, or family issues that may have a bearing on your treatment. Whether you are seeking treatment for the 1st time or the 5th time, you will find that Assisted Recovery Centers of America offers a unique, completely individualized approach.
A majority of our patients can be successfully treated in an outpatient treatment program.
This approach has several benefits. There is little to no interruption of employment, which results in no loss of income, and preserves confidentiality. This is a major consideration for professionals seeking treatment. The outpatient treatment programs allow patients to return to work within days of beginning treatment. This approach treats patients in their natural environment of work and family life. The cues and triggers of past alcohol and drug use are overcome in the real world where patients live and work every day. The familiar landscape that was contributing to the addiction now becomes part of the treatment. The measure of success for a treatment program is when patients cease to give in to their cravings when exposed to past cues and triggers.
How is addiction recovery achieved?
Patients are medically detoxified to attenuate the withdrawal symptoms. The medications prescribed by the doctors will weaken the withdrawals and also treat other symptoms like anxiety, and insomnia. Treating the withdrawal symptom is the first and important step on the road to recovery. The next important step is starting patients on anti-craving medications that block the cravings for the alcohol or drugs. There are over a dozen highly effective anti-craving medications, and many of them are non-addicting. These medications blunt the cravings and allow you to focus on long-term recovery. When the turmoil of withdrawal and craving is calmed, the patient can now be actively involved in changing the behavioral aspect of the addiction through individual, group, and family counseling and seeing a psychiatrist. This important part of treatment can be done with minimum disruption of work or family obligations. The sessions can be scheduled in the day time, in the evenings, or on Saturdays.
We are here to help.
Assisted Recovery Centers of America offers the most comprehensive, science-based treatment program that is radically different from conventional programs. Our program may well be the best option for you to attain and maintain long-term recovery and make a better future for yourself and your family. Browse the rest of our site to learn more about the inpatient residential, outpatient and transitional living programs that we currently offer in St. Louis, MO and Farmington, MO.
Frequently Asked Questions
Through ARCA’s Inpatient Treatment Programs at MIRA and Outpatient Treatment Programs, the staff at ARCA have treated individuals just like yourself. Below are some of the frequently asked questions that are posed by patients.
How Does Your Treatment Program Differ from Other Programs?
We consider addictive disorders to be a chronic medical illness with a strong behavioral component. Any request for help should be treated as an emergency situation, and ARCA provides same-day appointments and medical treatment. We medically detoxify patients to provide relief from withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, body aches, cramps, nausea, restlessness and irritability. We seamlessly transition you to anti-craving medications to block the cravings for alcohol or drugs. ARCA utilizes one of the most effective relapse prevention therapies in all of our programs, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. ARCA provides a comprehensive, medically-based approach to the treatment of addictive disorders. Your treatment team will include physicians, psychiatrists, nurses, and therapists. Our treatment program is prescribed specifically to the individual needs of each patient. That is why we offer an Inpatient Residential Treatment Program, an Outpatient Treatment Program and a Transitional Living Program — a three-level approach to recovery. The ARCA Inpatient Residential Program will ensure your care is continued even after you are discharged. You are encouraged to enter the ARCA Outpatient Program to continue your road to recovery. You will have peace of mind knowing that ARCA will continue on your journey with you as long as you need us.
What Can I Expect at ARCA?
You can expect a caring, well-trained professional team offering you state-of-the-art individualized treatment from day one to the end of the program and thereafter. Each member of our team works with you to achieve your goal of long-term recovery. You and your family members have access to our treatment team at the treatment center on weekdays and over the phone or by e-mail 24 hours a day. Choices, flexibility, privacy, compassion and our knowledgeable staff make all the difference.
Medications are critical during the detoxification process. The ARCA approach considers ‘cold turkey’ detoxification as inhumane, which may compel the patient to discontinue treatment. The detoxification medications provide relief from the withdrawal symptoms, and protection from potentially life-threatening effects like seizures. Medications are equally critical to blunt the cravings that can reoccur during treatment. When cravings are effectively controlled, the patient becomes more engaged in long-term recovery through individual, group, and family counseling.
What are some of the Medications Used in the ARCA Program?
The medications used by the physicians at ARCA are all FDA-approved and have proven to be highly effective and safe. Medications including Naltrexone, Acamprosate, SUBOXONE®, VIVITROL®, CHANTIX® have been specifically approved for the treatment of addictive disorders while other medications like Ondansetron, Topiramate, Amantidine, Buspirone and Modafinil, although not specifically approved for the treatment of addictions, have been found to effectively curb cravings.
Do I Need to Take these Medications for the Rest of My Life?
The medications used presently are radically different from the older medications like Antabuse and Methadone. The modern medications used by ARCA are either non-addicting or have a very low abuse potential, and are generally taken for a three to six month period – long enough for the brain to heal from the effects of the alcohol or drugs. Some medications can be taken for a longer period of time to protect patients from relapsing.
How Do You Measure Success?
Addictive disorders impact the patient and the patient’s family in multiple ways. Measuring success is not just helping patients get off the alcohol or drugs. At ARCA, we measure success by looking at several parameters including sobriety, family and social relationships, work and educational functioning, and developing support in recovery.
Does ARCA Work with Insurance Companies?
We work out-of-network with most Health Insurance and we work in-network with some Health Insurance, depending on the level of treatment or program selected. ARCA’s Inpatient Treatment Facility at MIRA is Accredited & Certified by The Joint Commission and is now accepting all Major Insurance for Inpatient Services.
See below for an article of an example of a treatment center not operating properly. Tim Dalaviras, CEO of Assisted Recovery Centers of America, provided a statement in response:
Providing excellent long term inpatient and outpatient Addiction treatment is about keeping the client in the center of the treatment planning process, education and creating ongoing treatment options. Informing clients of treatment options is critical for them to reach their recovery goals and objectives.
– Tim Dalaviras, CEO of ARCA Midwest
Drug Treatment Moguls Lived in Luxury on Medicaid Cash, Say Prosecutors
By Lisa Riordan Seville and Graham Kates
Prosecutors say the father and son who ran one of New York’s largest drug treatment programs committed fraud and spent taxpayer millions on luxury cars and vacation homes while their patients lived amid rats and bedbugs, but authorities fear shutting down their programs could put thousands of addicts on city streets.In late October, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara asked for a civil injunction to stop Narco Freedom from continuing what he described as “an ongoing fraudulent kickback scheme.” This came six days after New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman indicted owners Alan and Jason Brand on criminal charges of fraud and money laundering.
“Narco Freedom is not truly functioning as a not-for-profit cofrporation but is rather a corporation operated for the personal benefit of Mr. Brand,” Robert A. Kent, general counsel to the state’s Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), wrote in an affidavit filed as part of the state’s case. The Brands strongly contest the allegations.
Narco Freedom receives nearly $40 million annually from Medicaid, and because of their indictment the Brands are now barred from running any Medicaid-financed operation. But their programs live on, and continue to receive Medicaid funding, because they provide methadone to 10 percent of New York City’s heroin addicts and housing for hundreds of patients, many of whom are returning from jail and prison. More than 3,000 people could be left without treatment, according to court testimony and interviews, if Narco Freedom and associated businesses were shuttered.
The headquarters of Narco Freedom is a rundown, concrete slab of a building in the South Bronx, one of the poorest areas in New York City. On a recent day, patients milled outside, waiting for treatment, or for food from the truck that gives out free bagged lunches.
The Brands, however, enjoyed luxury cars, vacation homes in Florida, and generous benefit packages for which, according to state prosecutors, Narco Freedom footed the bill. Alan Brand earned $386,000 per year as CEO of Narco Freedom, among the highest salaries for an executive of a Medicaid-financed non-profit, according to a 2013 report from the U.S. House of Representatives.
Following the criminal indictment, state prosecutors froze Alan and Jason Brand’s bank accounts, their sprawling homes on Long Island and properties in Florida, and seized six cars, among them a Jaguar, a Corvette and a 2013 Tesla.
In addition to running Narco Freedom, a joint investigation by The Crime Report and NBC News has found that the Brands ran a series of side operations that did business with the drug treatment program.
There were at least six for-profit companies created “to systematically embezzle NARCO funds,” state prosecutors claim. The state criminal complaint said the firms submitted inflated invoices to Narco Freedom for services like construction and medical supplies, assuring that public dollars that came into their non-profit ended up in their for-profit coffers. Prosecutors say these potential conflicts of interest were never disclosed on Narco Freedom’s tax filings, in violation of the law.
In 2012, Jason Brand paid himself $526,000 through these companies, prosecutors say, in addition to his $109,000 Narco Freedom salary.
The Brands also operated nearly two dozen “three quarter” houses that provided a temporary roof for hundreds of addicts and those returning from prison — as long as they were enrolled in Brand-controlled drug treatment programs. Federal prosecutors said in their request for an injunction that these houses, which conditioned residency on attending Narco Freedom programs, are at the center of a Medicaid-kickback scheme.
In 2001, court documents say, Alan Brand approached a contractor named Jay Deutchman and proposed they start up a series of “three quarter” houses. Residents would use Narco Freedom’s outpatient treatment programs.
According to court documents, employees went into jails, prisons and detox programs promising the poor and soon-to-be-released a bed in a so-called “Freedom House” in exchange for attending the treatment programs. At their height, about 1,500 people lived in 21 “Freedom Houses,” mostly multi-story apartment buildings in poor areas, 14 of them owned by Deutchman, who also rented buildings to other treatment programs.
Most “Freedom House” residents paid $215 per month in rent through funds provided by the city’s Housing Resources Administration (HRA). But their residence required they attend counseling three to seven times per week, a formula prosecutors allege Brand designed to ensure profits. For that, Narco Freedom brought in $84 per person per counseling session from Medicaid.
The houses offered no clinical care on site, so they were neither licensed nor overseen by any city or state agency.
Patient rights regulations ensure patients are free from “undue influence” when choosing their provider — a provision OASAS counsel Kent now says Narco Freedom appears to have violated by requiring “Freedom House” residents to use its services.
Complaints to OASAS obtained by Freedom of Information requests show OASAS was aware of Narco Freedom’s “three-quarter houses” as far back as 2008.
One agency that came to rely heavily on “Freedom Houses” was New York State parole. In early December, Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Deputy Commissioner Thomas Herzog testified in federal court that parole regularly directed those leaving prison to Narco Freedom in order to secure housing.
Herzog said parole officers knew parolees sent to “Freedom Houses” would subsequently be required to attend Narco Freedom outpatient programs as a condition of their housing, even if the parole officer wanted to direct them to other programs’ services. It was a deal parole was willing to make, he said, in order to secure housing for nearly 500 parolees.
“It becomes an issue of last resort for us,” said Herzog. “Sometimes we have to even settle on something that’s sub-optimal.”
The housing was often not just sub-optimal, but decrepit and dangerous, according to residents and city citations.
More than a dozen men sleep per room in some of the homes, which records show have been infested with bed bugs and rodents. Records reveal violations not only for infestations, but also for floors without hot water, mold, water leaking through ceilings and cracked walls.
“It’s dirty, nasty. There’s water leaking. They got rats,” said Rafael Valdez, a resident of a “Freedom House” on 154th Street in the Bronx. He said he was forced out onto the street after completing Narco Freedom’s program in September.
In federal court affidavits and interviews, residents also described open use of heroin and the synthetic drug K2, and overdoses in the homes.
Many residents stay because they are mandated by parole. Others say the roof of a Freedom House is better than none at all. And because regular attendance at outpatient treatment is a condition of keeping their beds, Medicaid money has flowed to Narco Freedom.
The company claims it always made clear it was a drug treatment program that offered housing as a perk, and patients were free to leave the housing to seek treatment elsewhere.
Federal prosecutors are calling this not a perk, but an ongoing violation of the federal anti-kickback statute.
In October federal prosecutors obtained a temporary restraining order barring Narco Freedom from evicting any residents who refused to attend its programs. They have now asked the court to permanently enjoin the company from requiring residents in its housing to attend Narco Freedom treatment exclusively — an arrangement they claim is an illegal kickback. They have also filed to ensure that Narco Freedom does not evict residents without notice.
“Narco Freedom is committing fraud and violating the rights of its Freedom Houses residents, and will continue to do so without injunctive relief from the Court,” wrote federal prosecutors in a November filing to the court.
At a hearing in early December, Narco Freedom argued that the program used the houses to induce regular program attendance — not as “remuneration” for services, better known as a kickback, but as an “evidence-based practice.”
“The housing is offered as an adjunct to the treatment and therapy offered by Narco Freedom, and, in fact, results in better clinical outcomes for the patients,” argued Narco Freedom attorney Linda Clark in a federal filing in December. She added that the housing would not be financially sustainable unless patients went exclusively to Narco Freedom.
At the December hearing, Clark argued a bed was hardly the kind of kickback the law was meant to address. “Nobody’s giving people iPads or taking them to Atlantic City,” said Clark.
Moreover, attorneys for Narco Freedom asserted that passage of the Affordable Care Act changed the definition of “remuneration” to exclude remuneration that promotes access to care and poses a low risk of harm, which, they say, is what the Freedom Houses do.
A judge is set to rule on the federal government’s request for a preliminary injunction in January. Meanwhile, state prosecutors have asked for their own injunction that would appoint another treatment program, Acacia Network, to operate Narco Freedom. Narco Freedom is fighting both injunctions.
In October, Jay Deutchman pleaded guilty to falsifying business records and criminal tax fraud in connection with the “three quarter” houses, according to state court filings.
But through an attorney the Brands said they intended to fight the case.
“The charges against Alan and Jason Brand will be vigorously contested,” said attorney Richard Harrow. “Through their work at Narco Freedom, Alan and Jason Brand have provided extraordinary public service to the Bronx and the City of New York.”
“The drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs in addition to the mental health and primary care services of Narco Freedom have benefited tens of thousands of New Yorkers and have saved lives.”