Detox can end in death at some ‘non-medical’ Southern California rehabs – Orange County Register

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.

Matthew Maniace on his 19th birthday in 2015, the last birthday his family got to spend with him. (Photo courtesy of the Maniace family)

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…

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