Big Island Substance Abuse Council Reviews, Cost, Complaints
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Big Island Substance Abuse Council


Big Island Substance Abuse Council Review

Big Island Substance Abuse Council was established in 1964 to accommodate the rising demand for addiction treatment in Hawaii. Their symbol for recovery is the ‘ohi’alehua tree, which blooms in lava after a volcanic eruption. Big Island Substance Abuse Council helps those suffering from chemical dependency discover build new lives, offering a Therapeutic Living Program (TLP) for men, a Pregnant, Parenting, Women and Children (PPWC) program, and outpatient programs for adults suffering from chemical dependency. They operate three facilities in Kea’au, Hilo and Kealakekua.

Accommodations and Food

The sober living program for men has a 16-bed capacity. The men are split between two houses. Furnishings are comfortable and aim to provide an intimate, home-like environment. The sober living house for pregnant and postpartum women has a seven-bed capacity. Women with children three years and younger are allowed to bring them to rehab, as long as the children are not involved in custody or legal issues. The house has three bedrooms and clients may share with their children or another woman, depending on the enrollment. Each house has an on-site house manager, who provides constant supervision. The intake cost for the transitional living programs is $75 and housing is $275 per month. A sliding scale fee is offered for those who qualify.

Both houses have fully-equipped kitchens. Residents buy groceries together, plan the menu and cook meals family-style.

Treatment and Staff

Treatment length for the residential programs is typically six months. Detox services are not available, nor is there medication-assisted treatment. With an emphasis on evidence-based approaches, treatment includes group therapy, individual therapy and a family program, all of which use CBT. Group topics include relapse prevention, coping skills, substance abuse education, parenting and life skills. Attendance at off-site 12-step meetings is required for all clients—transportation is provided.

Length of intensive outpatient (IOP) treatment varies per client’s needs. Weekly treatment is between nine and 15 hours of group therapy, and one hour of individual therapy. CBT-based group topics include relapse prevention and recovery skills. Groups accommodate between eight and 10 clients. The outpatient program parallels IOP in protocol, with a lesser level of care. Weekly treatment includes between one and eight hours of group therapy, and a monthly one-hour one-on-one session. Clients requiring dual diagnosis support are referred to the rehab’s Hawaii Island Health and Wellness Center, where the protocol includes group therapy, individual therapy, family therapy and couples counseling.

The staff includes a CEO, who is a licensed clinical psychologist and a certified substance abuse counselor (CSAC), a Master’s-level marriage and family therapist (MFT), a psychiatrist, four additional CSACs, a health and safety manager and four employees who provide administrative and facility support.


Sober living residents participate in a culinary program that focuses on Hawaiian cuisine. Clients also take part in activities indigenous to Hawaiian culture that include excursions to lo’i terraces, waterfalls and fish ponds.

Adolescent anti-drug education and outreach programs are provided at over 31 schools in Hawaii, and a specialized IOP group for teens is available.

In Summary

Big Island Substance Abuse Council works hard to provide much-needed substance abuse and addiction treatment services to residents of Hawaii. While the organization offers affordable treatment for those who could not otherwise receive help, this program is not suited for those who need detox or medication management.

Big Island Substance Abuse Council Location

16-179 Melekahiwa St
Kea’au, HI 96749

Big Island Substance Abuse Council Cost

$350 (30 days, residential). Reach Big Island Substance Abuse Council by phone at (808) 969-9994 or by email at [email protected]. Find Big Island Substance Abuse Council at Facebook, Twitter and YouTube

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