Las Vegas agencies strive to help those in addiction recovery (2023)

Las Vegas agencies strive to help those in addiction recovery (1)

Austin Pollard (Michael Higdon)

About a month before he was arrested and set on a path of recovery, Paul Vautrinot could not see a light at the end of tunnel.

“I remember thinking to myself I’m going to die down here,” he said. “There’s no way out. There’s no hope, there’s no chance for a better life.”

The Las Vegas native started using heroin when he was 18, leading him to years living in the flood drains of the city. He was arrested on a warrant and placed in drug court.

He has now been clean and sober for eight years.

Vautrinot works at Crossroads of Southern Nevada and Shine A Light Foundation, two of a handful of organizations that help people struggling with addiction. Both organizations serve people in Clark County, but in different ways.

Crossroads is the largest detox in Las Vegas. Vautrinot is the vice president of operations. It takes people no matter what their insurance status is and helps them through 90 days of treatment.

“It doesn’t matter. If you come to our door and you need help, we’re going to help you,” Vautrinot said.

Vautrinot is the executive director of Shine A Light, a homeless outreach and case management organization. Staff go out and visit the homeless, primarily in the flood drains and tunnels. Shine A Light covers 90 days of treatment and 90 days of housing, and also provides case management for up to two years.

“We’re basically a master class on everything that’s available in the community based on what it is that you A, need, or B, want,” Vautrinot said.

In 2022, Shine A Light has helped more than 270 people escape homelessness, and its active case list includes about 110. He said the organization has a 70 percent success rate.

Having gone from receiving resources to helping provide them in the community, Vautrinot said he believes more can be done to guide people through the process of getting help.

“What I’ve learned being in this industry is we take them, we get them well, we treat them for 90 days and then we go ‘OK, ‘Best of luck,’” he said. “They don’t know what they can attach themselves to after that. They don’t understand.”

Vautrinot said the way the public perceives people struggling with addiction and the unhoused could go a long way in improving the problem.

“Talk to them. Acknowledge them. Look them in the eye at least. We do this thing where we like kind of tilt our head off to the side and we try to act like we didn’t see them and we just keep walking,” Vautrinot said. “It makes it that much harder to connect to individuals when we are out there trying to help because they just feel like the community is ignoring them.”

For more information, call 725-222-4654 or visit To reach Crossroads, call 702-382-7746.

Health Plan of Nevada

Health Plan of Nevada also is doing its part by facilitating access to Medicaid services for people with or without insurance throughout Nevada. Rachel Rosensteel is associate director of health equity for the Health Plan. Health equity means helping everyone have equal access to health care and equal opportunity to achieve positive health outcomes, she said.

Rosensteel said outside factors can get in the way of someone reaching those positive outcomes.

“We know that people aren’t going to go to the doctor or even to treatment for substance abuse, they’re not going to go to therapy or want to engage in services if they have unstable housing, or if they don’t know where they’re going to sleep at night, if they don’t have food to eat,” Rosensteel said.

Health Plan has a presence in the community in places such as shelters and hospitals where members can access their services. Those who are not insured can sign up for health care through the state and select Health Plan of Nevada as the provider they’d like to work with.

Rosensteel said Health Plan does an assessment with a new member to determine that person’s health goals. Depending on the person, Health Plan will connect them with community partners such as nonprofit Vegas Stronger.

She said it’s important that providers and the community try to help everyone they come across regardless of how that person may look on the outside.

“If they are judged or treated a certain way it really turns them off from accessing services ever again,” Rosensteel said. “That one bad experience can just ruin everything to that person and then it makes it really hard for the individual and then also for us as their care team to reverse that.”

For more information, visit or call 1-800-777-1840.

Adelson Clinic

Located on Maryland Parkway, the Adelson Clinic is a private nonprofit founded by Dr. Miriam Adelson and the late Sheldon Adelson. The clinic was founded in 2000 and treats addiction to opioids and heroin by providing medications including methadone and buprenorphine.

“Medication assisted treatment prevents opioid withdrawal symptoms, reduces the craving for opiates, stabilizes the patient, reduces the abuse of other drugs like cocaine and benzodiazepines, reduces infections with Hepatitis B & C virus and HIV, improves medical status and restores the patient to a productive, independent and responsible life,” administrative assistant supervisor Michelle Schucker said in an email.

The clinic accepts all Nevada Medicaid plans as well as Medicare and some private insurance. The clinic offers a reduced weekly fee for patients without insurance.

To qualify for the program, walk-ins are welcome Monday or Wednesday, no later than 7:30 a.m., to speak with a counselor for a drug assessment. Potential patients must have a valid ID.

For more information, call 702-735-7900 or email

‘It could be anybody’

Austin Pollard had a good life. He was in the Marines, had a home, a boat, a dog and good relationship with his family.

After his discharge, he turned to pain medication to cope with mental illness and pain. The dependency eventually developed into addiction to heroin and methamphetamine. He said he started out as a functioning addict but the addiction ended up consuming every aspect of his life.

Pollard ended up living on the street, out of his car before it was repossessed.

He called his dad for help and checked into a Veterans Affairs hospital. Pollard said the chemical balance of his brain was still way off and he “freaked out,” causing VA police to be called. He ended up being charged with disorderly conduct, which led to him being placed in a treatment facility in Fallon. His first two weeks were rough, and Pollard said he was close to being kicked out of the facility.

“There’s very few things that I wasn’t ever able to accomplish and here I was in a treatment center. I have a roof over my head, a nice comfortable bed. They serve us three meals a day. Pretty much all I have to do is just be there,” Pollard said. “I just have to be present and I could not figure out why that was so hard for me.”

After he hit the 30-day mark it started to click. Pollard spent 83 days at the facility, and while he had setbacks, he continued improving, and now, as part of his job, he goes out on the streets to help those who are where he was.

“It could be anybody. I have met people out on the streets doing outreach that come from all walks of life,” he said.

Pollard now works as the Nevada State Housing Program manager for United Healthcare.

“If you see somebody struggling, whether they’re in addiction or going through some serious mental illness or they’re experiencing homelessness, don’t give up on that individual either,” he said. “They still have something to offer and as people we can do a better job of lifting each other up and supporting each other.”

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Dr. Miriam Adelson and the late Sheldon G. Adelson, founders of the Adelson Clinic for Drug Abuse Treatment & Research.

Contact David Wilson at Follow @davidwilson_RJ on Twitter.


What are the three P's in addiction recovery? ›

In eating disorder recovery it is essential to focus on the three P's: Passion, Power and Purpose.

What organization provides a recovery program for alcoholics? ›

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

The 12 steps and 12 traditions of AA serve as the organization's foundation and provide encouragement during recovery. Program chapters are located across the United States and internationally, and are open to recovering alcoholics and their loved ones.

How can you help someone who has an addiction problem? ›

7 Tips for Helping Someone with an Addiction
  • Tip #1: Educate Yourself. Get information about addictions. ...
  • Tip #2: Get Support. ...
  • Tip #3: Get Counseling. ...
  • Tip #4: Seek Specialty Help. ...
  • Tip #5: Don't Enable. ...
  • Tip #6: Have Realistic Expectations. ...
  • Tip #7: Take Care of Yourself.

What is the most effective treatment for substance use disorder? ›

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT is a one-on-one therapy during which you meet privately with a therapist over a period of time. It's often considered the most effective therapy for drug and alcohol use disorders.

What are the 4 C's of addiction? ›

These four factors, compulsion, craving, consequences and control, are unique to addiction alone and are classified as the 4 C's. The behaviors of most addicts are very similar.

What are the 4 core elements of addiction? ›

The four C's of addiction are a helpful tool in distinguishing between addiction as a mental health disorder demanding treatment and other types of addictive behaviors. The four C's are compulsion, cravings, consequences, and control.

Is there something better than AA? ›

Though AA may be the most well-known solution for alcohol abuse, it is far from the only one. There are many alternatives to Alcoholics Anonymous, including The Sinclair Method, moderation, cognitive behavioral therapy, therapy, coaching, and Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT).

What is the most widely used program for treating alcoholism? ›

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other 12-step programs provide peer support for people quitting or cutting back on their drinking. Combined with treatment led by health professionals, mutual-support groups can offer a valuable added layer of support.

What are the 10 guiding principles of recovery? ›

The 10 fundamental components of mental health recovery include the following principles:
  • Self-Direction. ...
  • Individualized and Person-Centered. ...
  • Empowerment. ...
  • Holistic. ...
  • Non-Linear. ...
  • Strengths-Based. ...
  • Peer Support. ...
  • Respect.

What not to say to someone in recovery? ›

Avoid: relating anything in your life to their recovery journey. It may be a natural reaction; however, anything you use as a comparison can belittle, not support, what your friend is going through. According to Psychology Today, one little sentence can derail a conversation.

What personality traits are associated with addiction? ›

6 Personality Traits Linked to Addiction
  • Impulsivity. Impulsive people are often viewed as fun to be around due to their spontaneous nature, but this personality trait has a serious dark side. ...
  • Nonconformity. ...
  • Anxiety. ...
  • Low Tolerance for Stress. ...
  • Sensation Seeking. ...
  • Blame Shifting.
Sep 13, 2017

What do you do when a family member won't stop drinking? ›

How to cope with a family member's problem drinking
  1. Look after your own needs. Family members living with dependent drinkers often neglect themselves. ...
  2. Recognise that harmful drinking affects you too. You may experience violence or financial problems. ...
  3. Keep yourself and others safe from harm.

What are the most successful methods for intervention? ›

To help run a successful intervention:
  • Don't hold an intervention on the spur of the moment. ...
  • Plan the time of the intervention. ...
  • Do your homework. ...
  • Appoint a single person to act as a liaison. ...
  • Share information. ...
  • Stage a rehearsal intervention. ...
  • Anticipate your loved one's objections. ...
  • Avoid confrontation.

What is the most severe form of a substance use disorder? ›

Substance use disorder (SUD) is a treatable mental disorder that affects a person's brain and behavior, leading to their inability to control their use of substances like legal or illegal drugs, alcohol, or medications. Symptoms can be moderate to severe, with addiction being the most severe form of SUD.

What is the most prominent substance use disorder? ›

Alcohol use disorder is still the most common form of substance use disorder in America, fueled by widespread legal access and social approval of moderate drinking.

What are the 5 W's for substance abuse? ›

to learn the 5 Ws

How were you feeling before you used? ►How/where did you obtain and use drugs? ►With whom did you use drugs? ►What happened after you used?

What are the 5 P's of addiction? ›

Purpose, Practice, Perseverance, Pray, and Praise—these Five P's, along with other tools you may develop and discover throughout your own journey, can provide a powerful framework for recovery.

What are the 3 rules of addiction? ›

Black addresses three major rules that exist within families when someone has a chemical dependency; don't talk, don't trust, and don't feel.

What are Griffins 6 components of addiction? ›

Griffiths' (2005) most recent components of addiction comprise salience, mood modification, tolerance, withdrawal, conflict and relapse.

What is a behavioral addiction? ›

Behavioral addictions such as gambling, overeating, television compulsion, and internet addiction are similar to drug addiction except that the individual is not addicted to a substance, but he/she is addicted to the behavior or the feeling experienced by acting out the behavior.

What are addict core beliefs? ›

Core Beliefs Play a Role in Addiction

Dysfunctional core beliefs about yourself can fuel unhealthy relationships and behaviors, such as drug and alcohol abuse. An example of a common core belief that addicted people have is, “I am bad.” This is a heavy burden to carry.

What questions should I ask in a recovery group? ›

What are three signs of resilience you see in yourself? What short-term goal are you working toward right now? What difficult trigger have you overcome in the last 6 months? What is the most helpful thing you do when you have an urge?

What does smart stand for in recovery? ›

SMART, which stands for Self-Management and Recovery Training, is a group-based addiction recovery model led by volunteers designed to help people use the latest scientifically based treatments to overcome addiction.

What is the 12th step? ›

What Is Step 12? In Al-Anon, the twelfth step reads "try to carry the message to 'others'" and in Alcoholics Anonymous it says "to alcoholics." But the principle is the same. In order to work all 12 of the steps, you must try to help others.

Is there a pill that makes you not want to drink alcohol? ›

Naltrexone is a medicine used to treat alcoholism (addiction to alcohol). It reduces your desire for alcohol. It comes under the brand names ReVia or Vivitrol. After you quit drinking, naltrexone may help you stay sober for a long time.

What is the average length of sobriety in AA? ›

The average time of sobriety of successful AA members, as reported by AA, is more than five years. If the success rate is 10 percent or 35 percent, it is not a success for the majority of AA members.

What are the 3 FDA approved drugs to treat alcoholism? ›

  • There are 3 FDA-approved medications for.
  • the treatment of AUD:
  • disulfiram, acamprosate, naltrexone.

What is the most common mental disorder? ›

Of those, the three most common diagnoses are anxiety disorders, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These three conditions make up around 30 percent of all diagnoses of mental illness in America. While they share many of the same qualities, they're also significantly different from one another.

What are the 5 general rules for recovery? ›

Teaching clients these simple rules helps them understand that recovery is not complicated or beyond their control. It is based on a few simple rules that are easy to remember: 1) change your life; 2) be completely honest; 3) ask for help; 4) practice self-care; and 5) don't bend the rules.

What are the 7 R's of recovery? ›

To that end, they will often use one or more tactics from what I call the 7 Rs For Recovering From A Crisis: Renounce, Reinvent, Restructure, Rebuild, Rename, Rebrand and Reset.

What to do while in recovery? ›

A few other recovery friendly activities:
  1. Try yoga or meditation.
  2. Take a class or course.
  3. Volunteer.
  4. Go camping.
  5. Visit a local zoo or aquarium.
  6. Visit a museum or art gallery.
  7. Host a game night.
  8. Try an escape room.

How do you act around someone in recovery? ›

Here are seven easy ways that you can help someone in recovery.
  1. Be Yourself. ...
  2. Learn Relapse Warning Signs. ...
  3. Just Listen. ...
  4. Share Your Own Struggles. ...
  5. Encourage Healthy Habits. ...
  6. Be Patient. ...
  7. Join a Support Group.
Nov 15, 2022

How do you love someone in recovery? ›

Tips for dating someone in recovery:
  1. Educate yourself about addiction and recovery.
  2. Show patience, understanding, acceptance, and unconditional love.
  3. Remain supportive but set boundaries and don't enable.
  4. Encourage healthier coping mechanisms.
  5. Remind them of the progress they have made.
Dec 23, 2022

Are addicts narcissists? ›

It is important to note that people with an addiction do not always show signs of a narcissistic personality disorder and that people with narcissism do not always develop an addiction.

What is a typical addict behavior in relationships? ›

Drugs can cause mood swings and paranoia. This can make it difficult for an addict to maintain healthy relationships. An addict may become irritable, argumentative, or even violent. For example, they may accuse their partner of cheating or being unfaithful, leading to a strained relationship.

What is the root cause of an addictive personality? ›

The root causes of addiction include trauma, mental health struggles, and genetic predisposition. However, it's important to keep in mind that there is no one cause of addiction. No one can completely predict who will become addicted after substance abuse and who will not.

What are the 4 types of drinker? ›

There are four types of drinker – which one are you?
  • Social drinking. To date, nearly all the research on drinking motives has been done on teens and young adults. ...
  • Drinking to conform. ...
  • Drinking for enhancement. ...
  • Drinking to cope.

What are the signs of someone who drinks too much? ›

These are some signs your body may be telling you to take your imbibing down a notch.
  • Changes in your skin. ...
  • Easy bruising. ...
  • Weight gain. ...
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss. ...
  • Tingling or a sensation of numbness. ...
  • Heartburn. ...
  • Stomach issues. ...
  • Nausea and vomiting.
Aug 22, 2022

How do you deal with someone who drinks all the time? ›

How To Help Someone You Know Who Drinks Too Much
  1. Step 1: Talk. Talk about your worries when the person is sober. ...
  2. Step 2: Offer your help. Suggest activities that don't include drinking alcohol. ...
  3. Step 3: Take care of yourself. Caring for someone with alcohol misuse or use disorder can be stressful.
4 days ago

What are 5 examples of intervention strategies? ›

Let's take a look at the most commonly used intervention strategies:
  • Behavioural Interventions. ...
  • Collaborative Interventions. ...
  • One-to-One Interventions. ...
  • Classroom-Based Interventions. ...
  • Social, Emotional and Wellbeing Interventions. ...
  • Peer Tutoring. ...
  • Metacognition and Self-Regulation. ...
  • Homework.
Jul 9, 2021

What is the best intervention for substance abuse? ›

Non-Medication Interventions
  • Counseling. Counseling is a general term to describe talk therapy with a professional whose chief aim is to help the patient stop their drug use. ...
  • Group Therapy. ...
  • Family and Couples Counseling. ...
  • Methadone. ...
  • Buprenorphine. ...
  • Oral Naltrexone. ...
  • Injectable Naltrexone. ...
  • Disulfiram.

What two personality disorders are most commonly associated with substance use disorder? ›

Comorbidity of personality disorders (PDs) and substance use disorders (SUDs) is common in clinical practice. Borderline PD and antisocial PD are particularly found to be associated with SUDs.

Is addiction a brain disorder? ›

Because changes in brain structure and function are fundamental to the development and expression of addiction, it qualifies as a brain disease--a brain disease expressed as compulsive behavior.

What's the difference between a disorder and an addiction? ›

What is addiction? While the term “addiction” does not appear in the DSM, it is generally regarded as a severe substance use disorder. Addiction is the most severe form of a full spectrum of substance use disorders. It is a medical illness caused by repeated misuse of a substance or substances.

What personalities are substance use disorder? ›

Drug Use and Personality

Generally, those who use drugs or alcohol are characterized by having high Neuroticism, high Openness to Experience, low Agreeableness, and low Conscientiousness.

What triggers may lead to an episode of drug abuse use can be? ›

Things. Objects surrounding your daily life can lead to drug and alcohol cravings. For example, if you were using spoons to consume heroin, the piece of cutlery can trigger those memories. Empty pill bottles, movies, magazines, and some paraphernalia are common triggers of substance use.

What is the fastest growing drug problem in the United States is likely the nonmedical use of? ›

Nonmedical use of prescription medications (NUPM) is currently the fastest growing drug problem in the United States.

What are the 3 steps of overcoming addiction? ›

There are three main steps to solving addiction at home.
  • Acknowledge the Addiction. The first step to overcoming any addiction is to acknowledge that you have a problem. ...
  • Seek Professional Addiction Treatment. Once you have admitted your addiction, it's time to find a treatment program. ...
  • Prevent Relapse Of Past Addictions.

What are the three priorities of recovery? ›

Keep It Simple.
  • Sobriety. Refraining from all substances always ranks as the first priority of each day. ...
  • Serenity. In order to stay sober today, maintaining a steady mindset and sense of calm is essential. ...
  • Self. Being sober coupled with a sense of calm helps with the 3rd priority of Self. ...
  • Family. ...
  • Job.
Nov 17, 2020

What are the 3 theories of addiction? ›

  • Theories of Addiction.
  • Basic Six.
  • • Biological/disease Model. • Psychodynamic Model. • Moral/spiritual Model. • Environmental Model. ...
  • Biological.
  • • Indicates a biological predisposition – neurotransmitter imbalance – brain.
  • dysfunction.
  • • Has been linked to the development of: • Addiction. • Mood disorders. ...
  • Biological research.

What are the 10 stages of addiction? ›

Read on to learn more!
  • Stage 1: Denial. You should be proud of yourself during recovery. ...
  • Stage 2: Avoidance/Defensiveness. ...
  • Stage 3: Crisis Building. ...
  • Step 4: Immobilization. ...
  • Step 5: Confusion/Overreaction. ...
  • Stage 6: Depression. ...
  • Stage 7: Behavioral Loss of Control. ...
  • Stage 8: Recognition of Loss of Control.

What are the 5 components of addiction? ›

Authors Sussman and Sussman (2011) conduct a literature search to determine the definition of addiction, landing on and further defining five common elements: (1) feeling different; (2) preoccupation with the behavior; (3) temporary satiation; (4) loss of control; and, (5) negative consequences.

What are the 7 steps of the cycle of addiction? ›

The Stages of Addiction
  • Initial use.
  • Abuse.
  • Tolerance.
  • Dependence.
  • Addiction.
  • Relapse.
Oct 21, 2022

What are the 5 keys to recovery? ›

10 Keys to Recovery
  • Find Hope. It's often been said that recovery emerges from hope, so finding a sense of hope is often the first key to recovery. ...
  • Ask for Help. ...
  • Get Informed. ...
  • Engage in Treatment. ...
  • Seek Support. ...
  • Develop a Plan. ...
  • Take Action. ...
  • Reconnect with Life.
May 19, 2017

What are the 4 R's of recovery? ›


Based on the available evidence, we have identified a mnemonic entitled the 4R's which stands for Rehydrate, Refuel, Repair, and Rest.

What is the 5 second rule for addiction? ›

there is a five-second window between our initial instinct to act and your brain stopping you.” “Right before we're about to do something that feels difficult, scary or uncertain, we hesitate.” “That one small hesitation triggers a mental system that's designed to stop you.”

What is the triangle of addiction? ›

The triangle describes the roles individuals play in conflict, but in a family touched by addiction, it's common to see these roles play out in daily life. The three roles are the Persecutor, the Rescuer, and the Victim.

What is the 3 second rule addiction? ›

The way the three-second rule works is this: after recognizing an unwanted, objectifying thought or sexual fantasy, sex addicts give themselves a maximum of three seconds to turn away from the triggering thought and focus on something else.

What are the two major theories of addiction? ›

These can be grouped into two kinds of explanations; one which examines individual differences in liability to drug dependence because of genetic characteristics, and one which accounts for drug dependence in terms of changes that occur in the brain due to chronic drug administration.

What are the two types of addiction? ›

There are two main forms of addiction: substance use disorders and behavioral addictions. Addiction is treatable. It's crucial to seek help as soon as possible.

What are the 6 components of addiction? ›

Griffiths (2005) has operationally defined addictive behavior as any behavior that features what he believes are the six core components of addiction (i.e., salience, mood modification, tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, conflict, and relapse).


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