Area Substance Abuse Council Philosophy
The Area Substance Abuse Council provides prevention, intervention and substance abuse treatment services for adults and adolescents, as well as for pregnant women and women with children in self-paced, individualized programs. Services include crisis sessions, assessments, intensive outpatient care, day treatment, residential treatment, and halfway house, aftercare, and long-term transitional living programs.
Areas of Specialization
Intensive Outpatient (IOP)
Patients who undergo intensive outpatient treatment continue to live at home and sometimes go to school or work while participating in a highly structured treatment protocol that is focused on ending substance abuse. Programs vary in terms of how much treatment patients receive, how often and for how long. Some facilities design individualized intensive outpatient treatment programs.
Residential treatment programs provide housing (food and meals) in addition to treatment for substance abuse. Some facilities offer only short-term residential treatment, some offer only long-term treatment and others offer both, ranging from a few days to many months, based on patient needs.
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ABOUT AREA SUBSTANCE ABUSE COUNCIL
Founded in 1962, Area Substance Abuse Council (ASAC) is a private, nonprofit agency serving five counties in eastern Iowa, via six locations in Cedar Rapids and a further nine in the surrounding areas, for instance in Anamosa. Across its centers, ASAC offers a range of residential and outpatient programs, with special programming for adolescents and pregnant/mothering women (who can find specialist services at 47.2 and 11.7 percent of Iowa-based facilities, respectively). ASAC does not offer medical detox services, but ASAC is among the 10.4 percent of Iowa facilities that offer medication-assisted treatment (MAT) using the opioid blocker Vivitrol.
TREATMENT & ASSESSMENT
Treatment begins with a substance use evaluation, which is used to determine the appropriate level of care. In order to be accepted into residential treatment, individuals “must have a chronic substance abuse problem that has significantly affected other areas of his or her life.” There is often a wait list for the adult residential program; until an opening occurs, outpatient services may be available to those living locally.
In all programs, the length of stay depends on the individual client's needs. ASAC's approach encourages clients to investigate the effect their addiction has had on, not just on their own lives, but on the lives of all those around them. Treatment uses individual, group, and family therapy, with a focus on behavioral management, through sessions on anger management, communication, and decision-making. At least some programs use the 12-Steps.
For adults who require residential care, there's a co-ed facility in Cedar Rapids, as well as a dedicated residential facility for pregnant and mothering women called Heart of Iowa, where children up to the age of 18 may stay with their mothers while they receive treatment (as long as they're still in high school). The facility is among the only 4.3 percent of Iowa-based facilities that offer residential beds for clients' children. Following their initial residential stay, adult clients may progress to gender-separate residential homes, where they typically stay for 60 to 90 days and are encouraged to enter the workforce.
For clients aged 13 to 18, there's a separate, 12-step based residential recovery program, called CD+. This center is based on the understanding that adolescent substance misuse is often accompanied by behavioral problems, and so follows a combined cognitive approach. Participants are monitored 24/7 and cannot leave the campus unsupervised. On-site tutors help clients complete schoolwork, earn college credit, or work toward their GEDs.
Homeless adult clients, and those who don't have a safe home to go to, may progress to a sober living facility, typically for two to three months, where they receive at least five hours per week of substance misuse programming. ASAC also offers low-cost, long-term transitional housing.
Outpatient options include a partial hospitalization program (PHP), intensive outpatient programs (IOPs), and standard outpatient care, as well as dedicated outpatient programming for adolescents.
The treatment team includes addiction counselors and case managers. ASAC does not have medical staff on-site around the clock. To date, the nine individuals surveyed by Rehabs.com on the staff gave mixed feedback, skewing positive:
Staff Experience and Training: 3.7/5
ACCOMMODATIONS & AMENITIES
A video tour of the CD+ youth facility shows straightforward rooms with multiple beds, as well as a common kitchen, dining area, rec room with flat-screen TV, games, and coin-operated laundry facilities. The nine respondents to a Rehabs.com survey described ASAC facilities in general as clean if somewhat bare-bones:
Facility Cleanliness and Upkeep: 4.1/5
Exercise and Leisure Offerings: 3.6/7
WHAT ALUMNI SAY
The single alum polled by Rehabs.com to date gave mixed feedback. "I thought it was okay," the reviewer wrote of their outpatient program, adding that the staff were "not very good." They gave ASAC five stars for its treatment effectiveness, four stars for its ability to treat co-occurring disorders, and three stars for its counseling options.
ASAC has mixed feedback on secondary sites, with a 3.8 out of five-star average rating based on 31 opinions on Facebook (where the organization can manage its own page), and on two Google pages for different locations, a two-star average rating based on five reviews and a 4.8-star average rating based on four reviews.  
The most common complaint was that ASAC recommends treatment for everyone, in some reviewers' eyes, regardless of whether they needed it. "Yeah, this place will recommend treatment for damn near everybody. It's a business, no more no less. If you're seeking an evaluation, you're better of going to the University," Caesar wrote in a typical comment on Google.
However, several reviewers thanked ASAC for their long-term sobriety, and even for saving their lives. "They work miracles everyday. They have saved my life and my family as well! I am debt to them forever," Robert wrote in a representative comment on Facebook.
WHAT FRIENDS & FAMILY SAY
Loved ones surveyed by Rehabs.com gave mixed feedback on ASAC. The six friends and family members polled on the facility's performance in a variety of areas painted a picture of good family participation, but a somewhat bare-bones program overall.
In their comments, the reviewers repeatedly described a supportive network that's somewhat overtasked, sometimes leading to insufficient personalization of programs and a lack of activities and aftercare. "Overall a good program but staff could be more understanding and more individualized," one anonymous reviewer wrote in a typical comment.
However, some reviewers had truly life-changing experiences at ASAC: "My son almost died from his alcoholism. He had borderline Cirrhosis, was jaundiced, and bloated. He graduated from ASAC in 2009 and hasn't had a drink since," Virginia wrote.
Family Participation: 4/5
Likelihood to Recommend: 3.7/5
Holistic Offerings: 2.7/5
WHAT STAFF SAY
Both of the staff members polled by Rehabs.com to date gave mostly positive feedback and would recommend ASAC. One reviewer, polled on the overall quality of care provided and the facility's willingness to put clients' interests first, gave ASAC five stars in each category. "Heart of Iowa will help with your addiction, and it will help with your whole family network and more. Forward thinking and great employees," he wrote, despite adding that the center suffered from a lack of medical support.
According to ASAC’s website, the facility accepts Medicaid, Access to Recovery vouchers, some private health insurance, and self-payment. The eight individuals polled on the matter offered mixed opinions concerning the cost of treatment.
In 2018, ASAC received a $400,000 grant from Substance Abuse and Mental Services Administration. According to the organization, the funds will be used to assist clients transitioning out of the organization's halfway houses. Assistance may include funds for child care, mental health assistance, and professional clothing for jobs.
Published on December 2018
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