The fight of Dillon DeRita’s life was etched into his flesh.
On his left forearm was a tattoo of the Serenity Prayer, with its plea for redemptive power:
“… To accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”
On his right were needle tracks from years of injecting heroin.
Last year, that struggle brought DeRita 2,600 miles from his home in Florida to Pacific Coast Detox in Costa Mesa. The center was one of the 1,117 licensed drug and alcohol treatment facilities in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, an area known in the industry as the Rehab Riviera.
DeRita put his faith – backed by an insurance policy that would have paid tens of thousands of dollars for his sobriety – in an industry that regulators, elected officials and some recovery experts say too often fails addicts in its care.
On June 26, just two days into his detox regime at Pacific Coast, DeRita spent the night in a chair on a…