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Added Security Through Drug Dogs

Sobriety and patient safety are two of the PaRC’s main priorities. Keeping our patients safe includes providing an alcohol and drug free environment. Recently, treatment centers nationwide have noticed an increase in people attempting to sneak substances into treatment. "Addicts will go to great lengths to get drugs," said Mike Leath, M.D., PaRC chief physician, noting that a few patients do plead for friends or family to smuggle drugs into rehab for them.

As a leading treatment provider in this country PaRC chose to be proactive by adding two drug-sniffing dogs to its security program. Vegas and Ronson (both Maliherds: a mix of Malinois and German Shepherd), are specially trained narcotics detection dogs that thoroughly check luggage, patient rooms, and the entire complex. As patients and visitors travel about the facility, the K-9 Academy graduates alternate day and night patrols to keep our patients’ living environment safe. Each dog is escorted by a handler who has received unique training to work in the medical, rehabilitation environment. The canines and their handlers do not serve in a law enforcement capacity. If a dog alerts, PaRC staff addresses the situation. The focus is on getting the patient well; not on punishment.

Improving Outcomes

Matt Feehery, PaRC CEO is a strong advocate for patient safety. “People turn to us because they want help to kick their addictions; however, substance abuse can be extremely powerful and difficult to overcome,” said Matt Feehery, PaRC chief executive officer. “The presence of these dogs brings a sense of safety, relief, and proof that PaRC means business when it comes to helping people stay drug-free.”

“Young adults make up more than one-third of our inpatient population, and they can be our toughest clients,” said Feehery. “If just one person brings in drugs, it can jeopardize the sobriety and recovery of all patients, especially those who are very early in their recovery. In our experience, we believe the dogs serve as a positive deterrent.”

“During our 30-plus year history of treating thousands of addicted patients, a very small number have tried to bring drugs on campus. However, one incident is one too many for us. That is why we have made this substantial investment in our patients and their recovery,” said Feehery. “Our patients appreciate our efforts, and have been very welcoming and accepting of the dogs.”