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First Responders Program

Your job is to protect the public. Our job is to protect your health.

First responders face higher rates of substance use disorder and suicide than the general public. The reasons vary, but generally first responders—from members of the military and correctional officers to police officers and fire fighters — deal daily with fight-or-flight and life-threatening situations, on-the-job injuries, and public mistrust. At the same time, they deal with ordinary stresses that can be magnified due to the demands of the job, from parenting and marriage to financial and health issues.

If you are struggling with an inability to control or stop that use, you are not alone.

Caron Can Help You
Caron’s First Responders Program is staffed by a clinical team that together has more than 50 years of experience treating first responders, along with a combined 70 years in recovery and more than 80 years of on-the-job experience.

The first responders program is for active and retired law enforcement officers, career and volunteer fire fighters, EMTs/paramedics, 911 dispatchers, correctional officers, and military veterans, reservists and guardsmen.

Read our blog - Why First Responders Need Specialized Addiction Treatment

Treatment is hard work, but Caron’s peer network and expert treatment team have your back.

Expert Treatment Team Led by First Responders

First responders with extensive clinical experience lead the team:

  • A program director, himself in recovery, with experience as a police officer, clinician, outreach professional, and program developer and director
  • A senior advisor with 40 years of experience in the public safety field, including six years as the director of a treatment program for first responders
  • A clinical supervisor who has treated more than 1,500 first responders with substance use disorders
  • A peer facilitator who is a third-generation firefighter and retired deputy chief with 35 years of experience in fire services and in recovery himself

In addition to these experienced professionals, your treatment team will also include licensed psychologists and psychiatrists, highly credentialed behavioral health therapists, and family therapists.

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Featured Staff
Director, First Responders Program
Senior Advisor, First Responders Program

Foundational Treatment Elements

Caron’s program is designed to provide privacy and build cohesion and camaraderie among first responders in treatment. Our team of experts uses those bonds to facilitate your treatment and recovery. These components work together to meet the unique needs of first responders:

  • Private living quarters and treatment space

  • Peer support group: This confidential space is dedicated to straightforward, honest discussions regarding various issues you face.

  • Specialty groups: Groups address parenting, trauma, chronic pain, depression, relapse, and grief and loss, among others. A specialized group to deal with process addictions like gambling, sex, work, internet, and eating is available as are opportunities to participate in opioid-specific treatment.

  • Psychoeducational workshops:A therapist whose career has been dedicated to working with first responders leads workshops on topics like hypermasculinity, maintaining recovery in a drinking culture, ease of access to drugs, dealing with fears, and using camaraderie to support recovery.

  • Visits with colleagues

  • Spirituality services:A spiritual counselor who has worked with first responders and veterans provides spirituality services individualized for your needs, including access to non-religious support.

  • Off-campus 12-Step meetings

  • Trauma programming: Caron uses evidence-based treatment modalities, including cognitive processing therapy (CPT), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) as well as specialty groups dedicated to learning how to manage symptoms of anxiety and depression.

  • Holistic therapies: Good nutrition, attention to spiritual needs, and fitness activities enable you to take care of your physical and spiritual needs, important components of treatment. Our staff will also work with you to help you create plans for keeping up with these therapies long term.

  • Relapse prevention: When clinically appropriate, there are opportunities to participate in relapse prevention work.
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Featured Staff
Clinical Supervisor, First Responders Program
Peer facilitator for the First Responders Program

Family Programming

At Caron, we believe it is critical for the family to be part of their loved one’s treatment process. That’s why we include family members in our multi-day family program. It is designed to provide family members with the information they need to better understand substance use disorder, mental health disorders, and how best to support their loved one in their recovery.

We also provide a children’s program that offers education and counseling geared to the needs and concerns of children 7-15 years old. Our staff is experienced at talking to children in language they understand, and we offer their adult caregivers tips for how to do that as well.

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Post-Treatment Support

Evidence-based research shows that long-term recovery is best accomplished with structured support that encourages accountability and builds self-esteem. Caron has developed robust continuing care options that meet your and your family’s needs.

Continuing care planning: The treatment team collaborates to develop a continuing care plan for you that includes tools and recommendations for recovery when you return home.

Return to work: Your treatment team will always respect your confidentiality and privacy, but if you would like to, they can help arrange meetings with your union rep, EAP, supervisor, and others to plan for your return to work.

Peer network: Your treatment team can put you in touch with a peer in the same job and living in your home area to provide support and recommendations during your early recovery.

Specialized post-treatment programs: Optional additional support is available through My First Year of Recovery and Breakthrough workshops.

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