Part of our ongoing investigation into the Southern California rehab industry.
“This is the beginning of your beautiful new life!”
So began a contract for Above It All Treatment Center, a drug rehabilitation facility in Lake Arrowhead where, in February, Matthew Maniace signed himself in for detox.
He was a red-headed, freckle-faced sweetheart-turned-tough guy. His Facebook page showed both sides; photos of puppies licking his face and of his new neck tattoo (part moth, part skull).
Maniace was also an inveterate drug user, with a preference for heroin and alcohol. At 20, he’d been to rehab in at least three states. He was hoping the trip to California – to a licensed center described by a friend of Maniace’s as the “best rehab in America” – would help him seize his elusive prize: long-term sobriety.
What Maniace might not have known when he signed the admission form is that Above It All is what California regulators call a “non-medical” facility, which means it is not staffed by doctors.
About one-third of California’s 1,800-plus licensed rehabs provide non-medical detox. Many wouldn’t be allowed to open in other states because of the grave health dangers posed by withdrawal. Dozens of people have died in California addiction…