Why First Responders Often Need Help with Addiction?

First responders are often the first to arrive at challenging or dangerous scenes to provide emotional and physical support. While this can be a fulfilling job, it can also be emotionally draining to continuously witness difficult and traumatic events. Additionally, public distrust in law enforcement is at an all-time high in America, which can increase work-related stress.

Many first responders, including police officers, emergency medical personnel, military service members, corrections officers, paramedics, firefighters and other law enforcement members, struggle with mental health issues. Without proper treatment, this can often lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as substance abuse.

Ranch Creek Recovery is proud to work with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) to provide mental health support and addiction treatment for first responders. We are also partnered with the insurance providers that serve the LAPD and LAFD, so their personnel can receive our services with minimal out-of-pocket costs. Our team is familiar with the specific requirements of these insurance providers and can work with them directly to ensure a smooth and stress-free admission process.

At Ranch Creek Recovery, we understand the unique challenges first responders face, and our substance abuse and mental health services take those into account. If you’re a first responder struggling with alcohol or drug abuse, learn more about our substance abuse programs and how they can help sustain long-term recovery.

Client Reviews

Ranch Creek Recovery
Based on 15 reviews
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M HonM Hon
00:26 19 Jan 24
Staff: 4.5/5Owner, Director, therapists, nurses, counselors, and support staff are all really great. I had no issues with anyone in particular. They are all there to help you however they can. I found that everyone advocated for my well being, were available when I needed them, and did their best to support me, check in on me, and make sure I was happy and comfortable.(why not 5/5? They have had a bunch of turnover and need to update their website with their newer staff members and qualifications. Additionally the Doctors they partner with were not as thorough as I would have wanted, and were kind of pushy with medications)Program: 4/5Small groups for the win! You get a lot of attention if you need it. This is a Holistic approach rehab. They do not focus on any 12 step programs. You have daily classes with different counselors, focusing on the science behind addiction, anger management, talk therapy, art therapy, equine therapy, nutrition, and much more. You have one-on-one sessions twice a week with a Licensed Therapist, and you have access to a gym daily, with a yoga instructor and trainer coming a few times a week. You also have a docent that comes once a week to do sound therapy, and you can learn techniques such as tapping. They have 2 doctors on staff you will have Zoom appointments with, and someone is always present to distribute morning, afternoon, and bedtime medication. You can also always grab whomever is on-call to talk through any issues or questions you have.(why not 5/5? Overall I found that there was too much down-time. I got bored and restless with that much free time and I craved more structure. Additionally I thought that the family Zoom sessions could have served as a stronger resource for loved ones)Location: 4/5Murrieta is a quiet, tranquil area, with mountain views, a lot of farmland, and very little public noise to distract you. When you do leave the house, you get to visit a small farm that is very close by to interact with horses and goats, etc. You also have an outing on Saturdays for a few hours that allows you as a group to get out of the house. The immediate area has all the basic stores and activities you would want, like target/walmart/grocery/7-11/etc as well as mini golf, bowling... You do need to decide as a group where you want to go because you have 1 chaperone and need to stay together at all times.(why not 5/5? There are 2 different houses located about 10 minutes away from each other. The Bass house advertised on the website is much nicer and larger than the Doreen house. During my time the clients staying at the Doreen house were shuttled over to the Bass house for our daily classes and sessions, not being able to utilize their own kitchen, rooms, and bathrooms during the day. I was also told by clients that the Doreen house was not as nice as the Bass House)Amenities: 4/5Pool - (I was there in the winter, so it was not heated and basically unusable, however, I did do some cold plunges just for the shock)Hot tub - available once a week on Friday eveningsYard - Large Grass Backyard and cement patio with tables and chairsGym - Available daily. TV for movies or music. Free weights, yoga mats, and a few outdated cardio machines that mostly worked.Kitchen - Large kitchen, multiple Fridges/Freezers, Huge pantry for preparing anything you want, ovens, microwave, toasters, dishwasher, outdoor gas grill, etc...Pool table, ping pong table, arts and crafts table, outdoor TV, Indoor TV, Computer, land-line house phone.Comfortable rooms and bathrooms with laundry access, and provided bedding and towels.(why not 5/5? I was disappointed that it wasn't clear that the pool and hot tub didn't have daily access as advertised, and that the gym was more outdated than described/pictured. They also could make some very inexpensive recreation investments like a basketball for their outdoor hoop, soccer ball, frisbees, croquet set, bocce, etc for their giant lawn to be used during the extensive downtime)
Dorothy SmithDorothy Smith
00:29 12 Aug 22
Ranch Creek Recovery is the best way to start your new healthy way of life. This program actually saved my life and my sanity. Their Holistic approach was amazing and I learned so much from my counselors and Dr. Dena. With only a limited number of participants in the house at one time, you are guaranteed the one on one time, as well as the group counseling they offer in a safe and comfortable setting. They make you aware that they truly care and are there to support you , listen to you, and most important to teach you. Teach you information about triggers, cognitive behavior and how to stay sober. They include therapy through others means such as Yoga, Meditation, working with Horses and even Physical Training. Ranch Creek makes sure when you leave you are good, Mind, Body and Soul. They have an excellent Intensive Outpatient Program (10) weeks that helps navigate your way back into life. A year ago (received my one year chip June 8, 2022) I was lost and a raging out of control alcoholic. I can proudly say today that I am not. I will always be an alcoholic with an addictive personality. But now I have tools, personal contacts and the faith in myself that I have never had before in my 9 years searching for sobriety. I often reflect back on my time at the Bass house. I am probably one of the few that actually stayed 60 days because I had so much to learn. My insurance did not cover all of the last days, but it was worth it to me, so I stayed. I am so grateful to so many of the staff, Jimmie, Christine, Jonathon, Dr. Dena and countless extended staff to name a few, because there were more. I would not be here to tell you it works, because without the treatment and the help I received, I alive today to tell my journey. If you are ready to face the truth, please give them a call. I promise if you are committed, you will never be the same as when you walked in. Thank you Ranch Creek Recovery.
Martha BlackMartha Black
18:45 25 Jan 22
Also known as Angelica, I couldn’t recommend this place more . This treatment center really helped me get what I have always wished for , Peace with my past , healing , restoration . Ranch Creek Recovery’s program was such a tremendous blessing, life changing experience for me and my family. This week I celebrate 9years of living life in recovery, sobriety. Thank you RCR for saving my life .
00:59 03 Nov 21
I had long term sobriety and was under a lot of stress from my professional position. I began to use cannabis recreationally and soon became dependent. I sought recovery, because I could not stop using cannabis on my own. It was causing issues with my family and in my professional life. I signed up with Rancho Creek Recovery, through my insurance. I attended the pm IOP zoom sessions with Lorri. Her group sessions and the materials she provided, helped me to get off of cannabis. Lorri was a big help in giving me strategies to stay sober and to manage the cravings and ways to deal with my work stress. I would strongly recommend Rancho Creek Recovery's outpatient program and the pm IOP zoom sessions with Lorri. She was a great professional to work with.
Courtney FergusonCourtney Ferguson
19:04 01 Aug 21
I've had a few stints with rehab and none even skinned the surface of what I learned here. Located on a beautiful property in the foothills of Murrieta, with in house groups led by instructors that break it down so in depth. My perspective had a total shift and I can honestly say I owe my life and the promise of a new future to this facility and it's faculty. If you're willing to do the work this is the place to get into your core issues and help you recover from the lifestyle and vices that one is addicted to. I recommend this place to anyone who wants something different from life. DBT, CBT, recovery education, family therapy are just a few of the groups and The program director and Clinical director hand picked a team that is progressive, informed, patient, caring and passionate about what they do. I encourage anyone who's seeking treatment to look into this program I first hand watched others and had my life transformed.
David KlentDavid Klent
09:17 16 Jul 15
Coming to Ranch Creek Recovery, I had been through three different inpatient chemical treatment facilities in CA. I was feeling lost and somewhat hopeless. The serene setting gave me peace and I began healing. The counselors were very inspiring and helped me grow in ways I haven’t experienced in years. I began to see the bigger picture that a life in sobriety can give you. Although I am somewhat scared to leave the comfort and security that Ranch Creek Recovery and staff has brought me, I am also excited to share my growth with my family and to start my new life. Thank you RCR!

Navigating Payment and Insurance

We accept various insurance plans, including Aetna, Anthem BlueCross, Cigna, and more. Our team will help you verify your coverage and understand your out-of-pocket costs, making the financial aspect of treatment as stress-free as possible. We are committed to helping you access the care you need in our substance abuse inpatient programs.

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Addiction and Mental Health Issues Unique to First Responders

First responders witness a wide range of traumatic events and life-threatening situations, such as natural disasters, mass shootings and wildfires. These events often happen in their own communities, which can increase stress levels. Although these situations affect everyone differently, they can cause certain mental health conditions that severely impact a person’s ability to function in daily life.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that 30% of first responders struggle with behavioral health concerns, such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), compared to 20% of the general population. First responders, particularly police officers and firefighters, are also at an increased risk of struggling with alcohol abuse.

First responders are often lauded as being heroes and encouraged to power through any challenge that comes their way. Although the work they do for their communities is extremely important, they aren’t immune to mental illness or alcohol and drug addiction.

This harmful stigma prevents many people from getting the mental health, substance abuse or trauma treatment they need, which is why it’s crucial for addiction treatment providers to offer services tailored specifically to the challenges first responders encounter.

Addiction Treatment for First Responders

What Happens During Substance Abuse Treatment?

Substance abuse treatment is designed to help you get to the root cause of a drug or alcohol addiction by understanding what underlying mental health issues led to substance use in the first place. Drug or alcohol abuse and mental illness often go hand in hand. People may turn to substances to self-medicate mental health symptoms. Common substances include:

Many treatment centers offer dual diagnosis treatment, which addresses any co-occurring disorders, such as depression, anxiety or PTSD, that an individual is struggling with. Patients receive a personalized treatment plan outlining what therapies, medications or other types of treatment are best suited for their specific conditions. Family involvement is encouraged to provide first responders with ongoing support throughout treatment.

The goal is to help individuals better understand the relationship between their substance use and mental health and teach them healthier coping strategies for successful addiction recovery. Return-to-work planning is also provided if desired to address any anxiety about returning to duty and help communicate with your supervisors or an employee assistance program.

Types of Drug and Alcohol Abuse Treatment

Because of the wide range of stressful situations first responders deal with, there’s no one-size-fits-all first responder treatment. There are several options patients can choose from to receive the proper individualized care for their unique needs to sustain lasting recovery.


Medical detox helps rid the body of harmful substances and prepare individuals to enter alcohol or drug abuse treatment. This is often the first step in the addiction recovery process. During detox, individuals are monitored by medical professionals to ensure their safety and help relieve withdrawal symptoms.

Length of detox depends on the substance taken and how long you’ve been using it. People also typically participate in individual or family counseling to work through cravings and any negative thoughts or feelings they experience through the process.

Residential Treatment

Some first responders may choose to enter a residential treatment program to address their addictions and mental illnesses. During inpatient treatment, patients stay at the facility 24/7 to receive treatment. Upon arrival, a team of health care professionals conducts an initial assessment to determine the severity of your drug or alcohol use, whether you have a co-occurring disorder and the appropriate length of stay.

Residential treatment can last for 30, 60 or 90 days. Each individual receives a treatment plan that usually includes individual and group therapy sessions with fellow first responders to address alcohol or drug use and gain valuable peer support. Dual diagnosis treatment may also be prescribed for first responders with co-occurring mental health issues.

Outpatient Treatment

For those who can’t commit to a full-time inpatient program, outpatient treatment is an alternative option with more flexible scheduling. Outpatient rehab meets three times per week for a few hours each day. It offers similar services to inpatient treatment, such as individual therapy and group therapy, to help patients address their addiction or mental health concerns and build a peer support network.

Although the 12-step approach is commonly used to treat drug and alcohol abuse, we provide a more personalized method with individualized treatment plans tailored to fit your needs. A combination of evidence-based and holistic therapies is provided to help first responders gain valuable coping strategies to break their addiction and prevent relapse.

First Responders undergoing Addiction Treatment

Types of Therapies We Offer

There are various mental health issues first responders, and law enforcement members may struggle with from work-related stress and trauma. We offer several types of evidence-based and holistic therapies to address these issues and teach you healthier coping skills to move forward.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy that focuses on altering how a person behaves by modifying their thought patterns. It’s proven effective in treating several conditions first responders struggle with, including depression, anxiety, PTSD and substance use disorders.

Many first responders deal with stressful or traumatic situations. CBT can help interpret how these events affect their thoughts or feelings and develop skills to reduce negative beliefs or behaviors.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of CBT designed specifically for individuals exhibiting self-harming behaviors, including self-cutting and suicidal thoughts or attempts. A high number of law enforcement officials commit or attempt suicide each year. DBT provides several techniques to help first responders find meaning in their lives and make better choices, including:

  • Life skills training
  • Individual therapy sessions
  • Phone Coaching
  • Team consultation
  • Homework assignments to incorporate new skills into everyday life

Holistic Therapies

Holistic treatment addresses substance abuse disorders in the mind, body and spirit by using various experiential therapies and healing activities. Its purpose is to help patients develop a deep sense of self-awareness and self-acceptance, improve physical fitness and grow as a person. There are several types of holistic therapies first responders can choose to engage in:

  • Fitness rehab. Fitness therapy encourages individuals to exercise regularly to improve physical wellness, boost brain function and prevent relapse. Qualified physical therapists are available to guide you through fitness classes, personal training sessions or physical therapy exercises.
  • Yoga. As the oldest and most popular form of experiential therapy, yoga is effective in helping individuals overcome addiction. It provides many physical and emotional benefits to help patients relieve stress, gain more self-awareness and control negative emotions.
  • Guided meditation. Mindfulness meditation can help those recovering from an addiction find inner peace and build confidence. It uses imagery, music and sounds of nature to relieve stress and tension so you can relax and focus on more positive thoughts or feelings.
  • Amino acid therapy. During the withdrawal phase, amino acid therapy can be used to manage mood swings by improving the natural function and production of neurotransmitters. Amino acid therapy isn’t a cure for drug and alcohol abuse, but it can be an effective addition to your treatment plan.

Holistic therapies consider the whole person and their unique needs to promote a healthy lifestyle. Because of this individualized approach, these therapies can provide first responders with comprehensive addiction recovery.

Seek Substance Abuse Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

If you’re a first responder struggling with addiction, Ranch Creek Recovery is here to help. We work with various law enforcement members and first responders, including those with the LAPD and LAFD, and have the resources needed to meet your specific substance abuse or mental health needs.

To learn more about our services, call us today at (877) 775-9225. We accept most insurances and can help you take the first step to overcoming your addiction for good.