Studio City’s Heavenly Center Rethinks Traditional Addiction Treatment Programs

STUDIO CITY, LOS ANGELES (KABC) — The opioid epidemic is a huge problem across the country and despite decades of research into effective ways to treat it, overdose deaths are at an all-time high.

Most traditional addiction treatment programs operate on an abstinence-based model, but Studio City’s Heavenly Center is not traditional.

“As long as our guests save their lives and we help, that’s all that matters,” said co-founder Steve Lobel, a music industry heavyweight who’s worked with artists like Nipsey Hussle and Run. -DMC.

The Heavenly Center rethinks traditional recovery programs, using holistic options like hyperbaric oxygen therapy, eye movement desensitization, and light therapy.

The sober studio sessions are often led by co-founder Scott Storch, a talented producer and songwriter, who uses music as a healing medium.

“Having music as part of their lives and being able to feel the musical expressions when they walk into that room for that particular part of recovery, I think is very helpful,” Storch said.

What the Heavenly Center does not do is remove residents from the program for marijuana use.

Meth and other drug overdose deaths in LA County during pandemic

“It’s a shock to a lot of people. And we’re definitely the pioneers in this,” said Nick Morgan, the center’s outreach director.

Experts believe that marijuana can be addictive in around 30% of users, leading most centers to conclude that it is counterproductive. But medical cannabis is becoming a new treatment option.

Although not prescribed at Heavenly Center, clients can opt for cannabis-assisted treatment with a counselor providing education and guidance.

“We kind of allow people to come as they are… whatever that looks like and (recognize) that recovery is not a one-size-fits-all solution… it’s very individualized,” said Janae Borrego, clinical program director. .

“If you think you’re coming here to smoke weed and hit the studio, you’re wrong,” said former resident Jeffrey Jones.

Up to 85% of people will relapse within 12 months of starting drug rehab, mostly due to intense withdrawal symptoms, but several preclinical studies have shown that cannabis decreases opioid withdrawal symptoms. It is easier to access and, according to promoters, poses less risk than traditional drugs.

“If you don’t take this drug, you’re physically sick. You even go through a withdrawal cycle more than you would on heroin itself,” Morgan said.

Storch knows firsthand the dangers of drug addiction, having lost over $70 million to cocaine addiction. But he also believes cannabis has helped him.

“I feel like I’m living proof that it can actually cushion the blow to addiction,” he said.

“We’re going to all the green states and opening up a Heavenly Center. There really aren’t any roadblocks or obstacles…we’re just going to do it,” Lobel said.

Copyright © 2022 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved.