Elk River Treatment Program Reviews, Cost, Complaints

Elk River Treatment Program


Huntsville AlabamaElk River Treatment Program Review

In 2005, the Elk River Treatment Program was founded as a co-ed residential treatment center, in Huntsville, Alabama. It offers specialized programs for troubled teens 12 to 18 dealing with behavioral and emotional issues, as well as drug rehab for teens struggling with addiction. In addition, Elk River has a fully accredited academic program on campus so residents don’t fall behind in school while receiving care. This unique program insists that caregivers are in family therapy while their child is in treatment, provides a 12-step component as well as an overall holistic approach.

Accommodations and Food

Located on an 120-acre property, Elk River boasts a cafeteria, its own medical facility and school building. As Elk River is an outdoor-based program, no Internet, TV, or cell phones are allowed unless scheduled. Clients use sleeping bags, on camping mats and a pillow to sleep. Their dorm rooms are constructed on a 5,000 square foot deck and each have heaters inside. Staff supervises around the clock. All meals are provided in the cafeteria, with a focus on nutrition and health.

Treatment and Staff

The length of treatment varies depending on the individual, but the average length of stay is 60 days. While in treatment with Elk River clients attend school for four hours a day, during weekdays. They may attend either at 8 am to 12 pm or 1 to 5 pm. The remainder of the time and weekends are spent taking part in different therapies. Group and individual therapy, vocational training and equine therapy, as well as physical fitness classes are offered every day.

Specialized group sessions available cover abandonment and adoption issues, anger and defiance, co-occurring disorders like anxiety, ADD, ADHD and ASD, depression and bipolar disorder, as well as divorce and family issues and more which clients attend according to their individualized treatment plan. Staff has weekly treatment team meetings to re-evaluate clients’ progress while weekly updates and parent coaching are facilitated by clients’ primary therapist. Elk River also offers on-site AA meetings and parenting workshops.

Elk River staff includes LCSWs and a psychologist. Psychiatric care and medication management is coordinated by a child, adolescent and forensic psychiatrist while physicians and nurses provide any necessary medical care, 24/7. State certified teachers can be found in the classrooms where the accredited academic program for grades six to 12 is offered.


All clothing and gear is provided. Medication co-pays are the only additional out of pocket fees. The Elk River facility features a pool, basketball courts, grounds for equine therapy, gardening and access to hiking.

Other programs offered at Elk River include Transitions—a less restricted transitional care program for graduates of the main program and a teen weight management and healthy lifestyle program.

In Summary

For teens facing behavioral and substance abuse issues who love the outdoors, the Elk River Treatment Program is the ideal match. The program is well-rounded, with nature-emphasizing facilities and way of living. Elk River offers a $550 daily rate for those whose insurance covers treatment (60 days are expected upfront, then billed monthly thereafter) which goes down to $500 for cash pay for those with no insurance.

Elk River Treatment Program Location

500 Governors Dr SW
Huntsville, AL 35801

Elk River Treatment Program Cost

$15,000-$16,500 (30 days). Reach Elk River Treatment Program by phone at (256) 518-9998 or by email at [email protected]. Find Elk River Treatment Program on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn

Do you have a complaint or review of Elk River Treatment Program? Use the comments area below to add your review for Elk River Treatment Program.



  1. Cole Clasby on

    You all also missed the part about being placed on “primitive” punishment. Wherein you were forced to forego any indoor schooling, and made to sit on a hill in direct elements while being given only raw meat and flint and steel. You had to start a fire with flint and steel in order to cook your food, at night you had to build your own shelter in order to have cover from the elements. You sleep outside in teepees with round the clock surveillance. “School” is only about three hours, the rest of the day from 11 AM to 7 PM is work detail. When the “counselors” are bored and there is no work left, you enjoy forced marches with logs, four men to a log, on the shoulders, through the hills of the property. I went through the entire three and a half months with a broken hand and wrist. I only saw a doctor once. At the end of your second month you are driven across state lines and force marched on the Appalachian trail for 2 weeks. With rice, beans, and a sleeping bag bought at Walmart, along with a holy tent. You are provided three pairs of clothes. One pair of shorts, two rustler brand jeans from Walmart as well, and one mild rain coat. This was in December. In order to be delivered to the facility I was given a high dose of Xanax and driven out of a state where at the time I was of legal age of consent to make my own decisions. Upon arriving I was so drugged that I laid on a gym floor with a blanket in plain view of the others for two days without being checked by a physician or having any vitals taken. Mr. Wolfe, as he is so aptly named, is a man with a serious dislike of people and society, and treats you as such. Matt, is only in it to be around the young men, and a paycheck. I am twenty eight years old now, with quite a nice life. However, that place still haunts me.

  2. As another former resident I would have to say that the majority of what I just read was an out right lie. I am now a graduate of Samford University with a degree in law, politics, and society and a minor in business. I am not some bitter drug addict that just finished the Elk River program. Elk River is a bootcamp, no way around that. There is no swimming, no one on one therapy, you don’t play basketball, no peaceful gardening, or casual hiking. You do manual labor all day except for the 4 hours you are in “school.” Moreover, there is no casual hiking. You are forced to do 9 mile (I think this is the mileage it’s been a long time) perimeter hikes, (you have to run the entire thing most of the time, with you army pack on your back) If you send your child here there is a good chance he/she will come back with even more issues. Elk River is a terrible place. I could literally write a book about the terrible unethical things that happen inside Elk River, seriously, I’ve been told to write a book many times. Oh and there are no fitness classes “offered” you do physical training military style at 6:00 a.m. and it is miserable. The bad seriously outweighs any good this program does to some kids. I gauruntee you that there are many kids who go through that program (me) that did not get an ounce of good out of Elk River. I kept my head down and followed the rules to get home as soon as possible and all the staff said I was a good kid, but it was still terrible.

    P.S. your kids will write letters to you; however, if they try to tell you what is going on in Elk River, the staff will flag is as “manipulation” and give you the option to still send it but with punishment or to not send it and just get a verbal warning. My parents still cry and apologize years later for sending me, they said they had no idea what was happening in there. So this is for any parents that have no way of knowing what is happening to your children in there, please just send your kids to rehab or get involved in a lot of good counseling, there are better answers than Elk River.

  3. I also am a former resident. Often at time i felt like they were holding me there just to draw money from the insurance company. beacause i was court ordered me and my family had no say so on when i could go home. i was there for 6 months didn’t even really do anything bad i just would talk when i wasn’t supposed to and i hated journaling. i spent 6 months and then got discharged at phase 2 halfway through the program because my mom refused to allow them to give me medication. i hated the place. best thing ab it was losing weight and learning how to not destroy stuff when i get mad that’s all i learned. elk river is a solid 5/10 on a scale. you have to raise your fingers to speak at all times. like wth.

  4. As a former resident, this article severely euphemizes the Elk River experience. “Offered” physical fitness classes were indeed mandatory and often forced, particularly in the morning, and I may have seen the horses 3 times during my entire 7 month stay, let alone partake in “equine therapy”. I personally was able to avoid being assaulted, but I grew to passively observe kids my age (13 at the time) be tackled to the ground by grown men.

    While Elk River was certainly grounded in good nature, the bad eggs of employees as well as the severely rigorous and unforgiving routine may have done more harm than good for many who went there. I would not recommend this treatment program unless your child is severely at risk.

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