"Celebrity Rehab" Treatment Center Shut Down By Health Department

By Paul Gaita 08/07/18

The founders of the recovery center say they're working with the state agency to resolve the concerns.

Pasadena Recovery Center
Photo via YouTube

The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) suspended the license of a drug rehabilitation center that earned exposure as the setting for the VH1 reality series Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.

An investigation into the death of a patient at the Pasadena Recovery Center (PRC), along with other alleged violations, caused the department to temporarily suspend the facility's license in June 2018, and DHCS is seeking to make that suspension permanent while it addresses concerns about its patients.

The founders of the recovery center, which currently operates as a sober living facility, hope to work with the agency to resolve the many concerns.

According to the Pasadena Star-News, an unnamed patient died at PRC in 2017 after being admitted to its recovery program. Investigators found that while the staff determined that the individual was under the influence of an unnamed substance, he or she allegedly did not undergo detoxification.

DHCS also claimed that PRC employees failed to check on the client every 30 minutes or carry out orders from a doctor regarding the individual. 

A former client who spoke to the Star-News on condition of anonymity also alleged that PRC continued to conduct detox for clients after the June 2018 temporary suspension.

The Star-News coverage noted that these clients learned about the suspension in late June and were subsequently discharged.

The death—one of 84 at non-medical rehab facilities investigated by the state between 2012 and 2017—was just one of several inquiries conducted by DHCS into alleged activities at the PRC.

The Star-News cited a May 2018 investigation where the facility was reportedly found to have improperly monitored detox for clients; other alleged issues ranged from missing files and lack of counseling sessions to disrepair in bedrooms and bathrooms.

PRC was also cited for reportedly claiming that it was a 98-bed facility, despite being licensed for 88 beds, though the company has adjusted that number on its website.

In a statement, attorney Alison Triessl, who co-founded PRC with her father, psychiatrist Dr. Lee Bloom, wrote that the facility "has been operating continuously for nearly two decades, and during that time, it has served thousands of patients in need. It was recently notified by the DHCS of certain alleged deficiencies. We are participating in settlement negotiations with the department and hope to have the matter resolved in the near future."

From 2008 to 2012, PRC was featured on the controversial Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, where it served as the treatment facility for an array of famous patients with alleged substance dependency issues.

Six "cast members" died after appearing on the series, including country singer Mindy McCready, Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr, Rodney King, wrestler/actor Joanie Laurer and actor Jeff Conaway. As the Star-News noted, not all of these deaths were attributed to their dependency issues.

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, Amazon.com and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.