Community Care through the VA and American Addiction Centers

Veterans dealing with substance abuse and mental health issues can access treatment through the VA’s Community Care program. American Addictions Centers offers treatment programs specifically designed for veterans that are approved by the VA. If you are a veteran, you may be eligible for treatment at one of our facilities.

About American Addiction Centers (AAC)

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is the largest network of substance abuse treatment centers in the United States. We have rehab centers in California, Texas, Florida, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Mississippi.

Our facilities offer evidence-based treatments for addiction and co-occurring mental health issues. Treatment at one of our facilities involves group, individual, and family therapy. We offer a variety of different types of therapy groups, including:

  • 12-Step groups.
  • Trauma groups.
  • Groups focused on processing grief.
  • Veteran-specific groups.

We also offer medical detox to help ensure safe and comfortable withdrawal, as well as medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to aid in the recovery process.

Our staff is made up of physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, registered nurses, and licensed therapists and social workers. At AAC, we have a high staff-to-patient ratio and believe wholeheartedly in the importance of tailoring treatment to the individual. When you come to an AAC facility, your treatment plan will be created specifically for you and will focus on your physical, mental, and spiritual recovery. 

Our Commitment to Veterans

American flag

AAC is fully committed to helping veterans find freedom from addiction. For our Chief of Staff, Dan Cerrillo, the issue is personal. Cerrillo’s experience as a former Navy SEAL means that he knows firsthand the challenges that veterans face when coming home from deployment. Cerillo himself has dealt with depression, addiction, nightmares, and chronic pain. Sadly, like so many veterans, he found that healthcare providers were unprepared to address his issues.

Since recovering from his own addiction and mental health issues, Cerrillo has been working to improve the care offered to veterans.

“We must provide military personnel with resources in the field to teach them coping mechanisms before they become so far gone that they turn to a bottle, a pill, or a bullet to end their suffering,” Cerillo urged in his article in Stars and Stripes.

Backed by Cerrillo, and with the help of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), AAC is on a mission to change the landscape of veterans’ substance abuse treatment and see that as many of our nation’s heroes as possible get the help they deserve.

How AAC and the VA Provide Quality Treatment for Vets

The VA offers veterans the Community Care program as an option for to receive care when the VA cannot provide services.1

The program allows veterans to access services through local community care providers (CCPs) that are approved by the VA. Veterans pay the same rate for services as they would if they were receiving care at a VA drug rehab. To receive treatment through the community care program, you must meet certain eligibility requirements. To find a community care provider, you can use the VA’s locator tool.

Two American Addictions Centers’ facilities are approved community care providers: Desert Hope, located in Las Vegas, Nevada and Recovery First, located in Hollywood, Florida.

If you are approved for community care, the VA may cover your treatment at one of our facilities.

What to Expect in our Veterans Programs

Veteran hugging family

At American Addiction Centers, we offer treatment for veterans in any of our facilities across the country. However, Desert Hope and Recovery First offer programs specifically for veterans and first responders.

At Recovery First, we believe in improving all aspects of a person’s life. Our staff utilize evidence-based therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and motivational interviewing (MI). We also incorporate many different approaches into treatment, including:

  • Medical detoxification.
  • individual, group, and family therapy.
  • Relapse prevention skills.
  • Life skills.
  • Wellness activities and holistic therapies.

At both Desert Hope and Recovery First, we offer specialized treatment for veterans through the Salute to Recovery Program. Several staff members are veterans themselves who can provide support and understanding to the veterans in the program.

As a co-occurring disorder treatment program, Salute to Recovery helps veterans dealing with addiction and mental health issues like PTSD, depression, and anxiety. In addition to evidence-based therapies, our therapists use the First Responder and Military Lifeline curriculum, which was developed by AAC and Employment Assistance Professionals.

Topics in the curriculum include:

  • First responder and military culture.
  • Post-traumatic stress.
  • Hypervigilance.
  • Unique needs of veterans in recovery.

The program also emphasizes rebuilding relationships with loved ones, offering family and couples counseling, communication skills, and conflict resolution.

Veterans returning to civilian life may feel a loss of community outside the military–AAC wants to help you restore it. Veterans in AAC’s Salute to Recovery program are referred to as the “battalion.” The battalion moves through treatment together, living in the same quarters and attending sessions together. Members of the battalion have similar life experiences and can support each other during the program and long after treatment ends.

Take Your First Step

There is hope for veterans suffering from addiction, PTSD, and other mental health conditions. The first step toward recovery is calling one of American Addictions Centers dedicated community care provider programs. If you are a veteran dealing with addiction, call now to learn more about how treatment can improve your life.


  1. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2019). Veteran community care: General information.


About The Contributor

Amanda Lautieri
Amanda Lautieri

Senior Web Content Editor, American Addiction Centers

Amanda Lautieri is a Senior Web Content Editor at American Addiction Centers and an addiction content expert for Greenhouse Treatment Center. She holds a bachelor's degree and has reviewed thousands of medical articles on substance abuse and... Read More

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