New Resource for People Facing Addiction

Published on November 23, 2021


 For individuals having difficulty with substance use, the first step to a better life involves withdrawing  from alcohol or drugs. The new Arlington Recovery Center – a partnership between the County and National Capital Treatment and Recovery (NCTR) – is ready to help people with that journey. Arlington Recovery Center opened its doors this year and includes both Withdrawal Management and Early Recovery programs.

“Some individuals need medications to help them safely withdraw from the effects of drugs or alcohol,” said Deborah Warren, who is Executive Director of the Arlington County Community Services Board and Deputy Director of the Arlington County Department of Human Services. “This new Withdrawal Management program provides that critical service. In addition, NCTR will be operating at the same site a 90-day residential substance use Early Recovery Program, another important resource for people on their recovery journey.”

National Capital Treatment and Recovery, formerly Phoenix House and before that Vanguard Services, has been working with Arlington County for nearly 60 years on the problems of substance use in the County.

“We are sincerely grateful to be able to be providing an enhanced Medical Model of care that will improve engagement, retention, and outcomes for the individuals we will serve,” said Debby Taylor, NCTR President and CEO. “The Evidence Based Curricula and Medication Assisted Treatment that will be utilized has improved outcomes for NCTR patients and others throughout the County for many years.”  

Making it Easy to Get the Help You Need

“At Arlington Recovery Center, one goal is to eliminate barriers and make treatment accessible to those who seek it,” said Peggy Cook, LPC, LSATP, who will be leading the program having recently retired from Fairfax Community Services Board after 32 years of service. When an individual calls, staff conducts a phone screening.  During this screening, basic demographic, medical and substance use information is gathered. Staff assess the patient’s needs and ensure that the needs can be met safely in the residential setting and do not require hospitalization.  Once this is completed, the individual is given admission information and comes to the program.   

Withdrawal Management: How It Works

“There has been a large increase in opioid deaths since Covid began,” said Taylor. “Now more than ever, it is important that people have a safe option and the help they need to address their illness. Sometimes the first step is the hardest. Now we are here to help with that first step, and all along the way.”

It can be medically dangerous for people to discontinue using drugs and alcohol without proper medical oversight and intervention. The Withdrawal Management program will make sure the patient has what they need to safely withdraw:

  • Individuals who come to the program are monitored closely. 
  • Medical staff reviews the individual’s vital signs and withdrawal symptoms.
  • Some individuals will require medications to help them safely withdraw from the effects of drugs or alcohol. If medication is needed, it is ordered and administered. 
  • Clinical staff provides a safe, supportive environment.
  • Individual and group counseling helps the individual take his or her first step into recovery.
  • Individuals are encouraged and assisted in making connections to other community resources and treatment options to support ongoing recovery.

Early Recovery Program

This is a 90-day residential substance abuse treatment program.  Often people who attend Withdrawal Management will need ongoing treatment and support to learn recovery and coping skills.  The treatment program will be available to individuals who need this level of care and will help them learn the skills needed to live a life of recovery.


The new program’s predecessor at the same location on Columbia Pike was operated most recently by Volunteers of America and offered “social model detox” services, which included a supportive environment with 24-hour monitoring, but no medical interventions. The state has been phasing social model detox programs since 2017. The new model aligns with industry best practices and is expected to better meet community needs.

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