Press Releases

Caron Treatment Centers and the Release Recovery Foundation Announce Scholarship Fund to Expand Treatment Access for LGBTQIA+ Community

Wernersville, PA. (September 2, 2021)— Caron Treatment Centers, an internationally recognized nonprofit organization dedicated to addiction and behavioral healthcare treatment, research, prevention, and addiction medicine education, has partnered with the Release Recovery Foundation to create the Nic Pagano Scholarship Fund. With an initial commitment of $200,000 from the foundation, the treatment scholarship to Caron aims to improve access to care for the LGBTQIA+ community. As treatment scholarships are awarded, the Release Recovery Foundation will continue to grow the fund, which is open to contributions from additional organizations and individuals.

“The combined crisis around mental health, substance use disorder and COVID-19 has made it even more challenging for vulnerable populations to get the help they need,” said Brad Sorte, President and CEO of Caron. “The creation of this fund will support Caron’s ongoing commitment to removing barriers and expanding access to our substance use disorder and co-occurring mental health treatment services for the LGBTQIA+ community.”

In fact, data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) suggests that substance use patterns reported by LGBTQIA+ adults are higher compared to those reported by heterosexual adults. Additionally, LGBTQIA+ individuals tends to enter treatment with more severe psychaitric disorders.

Caron prides itself on offering a safe and culturally sensitive environment with empathetic and understanding LGBQTIA+ staff and allies offering connection and support. Services address stigma, heterosexism, internalized homophobia, and discrimination.

Nic Pagano, an alumus of Caron and Release Recovery, tragically passed away in July 2021 from an accidental opioid overdose. A proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community, Nic recently articulated his interest in becoming a voice for the fairness and rights of the Transgender community. At his sober living home, Nic was a compassionate go-to in welcoming new clients arriving from in-patient treatment, helping to make them feel comfortable in their new living environment. Nic was a talented actor with a level of success on stage and in film. His passion for movies and music would always create colorful and engaging artistic conversations yet a career in therapeutic healing seemed to be his calling.

“We started The Release Recovery Foundation to help individuals who just didn’t have the same access to treatment that I had growing up. We identified the LGBTQIA community as one where we could make a difference.” said Clark, a Caron Board Member and Season 16 winner of the Bachelorette who co-founded the foundation with Justin Garland. “Nic’s memory and desire to be a voice for the LGBTQIA+ community will live on, helping many others access recovery.” Garland said.

Release Recovery Foundation was launched in March 2020 by Clark and Justin Gurland as a branch of the team’s Release Recovery addiction treatment center in New York. Its mission is to provide more people with access to the lifesaving treatment they need regardless of status or financial means. Release Recovery Foundation creates opportunities for each recipient to make the world a better place; therefore, all of the money raised goes directly towards care for individuals in need.

To learn more about the Nic Pagano Scholarship Fund, please e-mail For more information about Release Recovery, please visit

Caron Treatment Centers
Caron Treatment Centers is an internationally recognized nonprofit dedicated to addiction and behavioral healthcare treatment, research, prevention, and addiction medicine education. Headquartered in Wernersville, Pennsylvania, our mission is Recovery for Life. For more than 60 years, we have helped thousands of individuals struggling with substance use disorder and their families begin to manage this chronic, treatable disease. Caron provides a continuum of care for teens, young adults, women, men, and older adults. Caron’s signature programming provides concierge treatment for executives, healthcare professionals, older adults and first responders. In addition to the Pennsylvania campus, Caron provides services in Palm Beach County, Florida, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, and New York City. Caron accepts several major insurance plans and provides financial assistance for those who qualify. For more information, please visit or @CaronTreatment.

Media Contacts

Matt Ciesluk, Senior Director, BML Public Relations | 704-258-3896

Kristin Campbell-Salamone
Corporate Director of PR & Communications, Caron
215-292-5526 |

Katie Kennedy
Senior Vice President, Gregory FCA

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