When a crystal methamphetamine epidemic intensified on the Big Island of Hawaii in the late 1990s, Dr. Jamal F. Wasan, a specialist in addiction medicine, felt compelled to do something to help his community. Originally known as the Waikoloa Community-Based Substance Abuse Rehabilitation and Recovery Program, Wasan’s brainchild is now called Lokahi Treatment Centers and had expanded from Waikoloa to include four more facilities in Honoka’a, Kailua-Kona, Hilo and Kohala. The rehab offers outpatient substance abuse and addiction treatment, as well as dual diagnosis support for men, women and adolescents. In December 2014, they also opened a sober living home for men in Hilo called Lokahi House.
Accommodations and Food
The exterior of Lokahi House is white with a red roof. The traditional Polynesian-style elevated structure is surrounded by lush greenery. While most men who enter Lokahi House are criminal justice clients, they also accept self-referrals. The house is small, with an eight-bed capacity. Men are paired up in bedrooms and all share a common bathroom. Because there is an emphasis on reintegrating into society by finding work or attending school, the men are allowed to keep their cell phones and computers during their stay. Lokahi House residents attend mandatory outpatient services with other Lokahi Treatment Centers clients. They pay $275 per month for housing costs with a maximum stay of six months.
Upon arrival, residents are shown how to apply for EBT cards, which they can use to pay for their groceries. They take turns planning and cooking meals.
Treatment and Staff
Before treatment begins, clients undergo a complete assessment by a staff psychologist to determine the appropriate level of care. While detox services are not provided, referrals to local hospitals can be made. A staff doctor provides management for clients on medication for co-occurring disorders.
Clients are briefly introduced to the 12 steps and the Big Book during treatment, but the rehab focuses more on using evidence-based therapy, mainly CBT, as well as traditional talk therapy. The intensive outpatient (IOP) program consists of 36 sessions and takes place at the Kailua-Kona facility. Weekly IOP includes three two-hour group sessions and individual therapy, as needed. Group therapy topics include relapse prevention, an introduction to the 12-steps, coping skills, anger management, substance abuse education and trauma issues. Typical group size is 12 to 15 for the mixed gender and adolescent groups. Gender-specific groups have between 11 and 12 women per session, while there are usually between 15 and 18 men in a session.
Schedules vary at each of the facilities. An intervention awareness group meets from noon to 1 pm at Hilo. The weekly schedule at Honoka’a is less intensive and includes just four weekly adult substance abuse groups, an adolescent group and an anger management group for adults. Out-of-pocket clients can expect to pay $20 per group session.
Dr. Wasan is the CEO and clinical director and Dr. Andrew Bisset, another addiction medicine specialist, serves as medical director. In addition, Lokahi Treatment Centers employs eight substance abuse counselors, five certified substance abuse counselors (CSACs), a substance abuse counseling intern, a house resident coordinator and administrative staff. Positions are also available for volunteers and CSAC trainees seeking a practicum or internship site.
In addition to substance abuse treatment, Lokahi Treatment Centers offers domestic violence intervention classes, mental health evaluations and counseling, family therapy sessions and an anger management program for both adolescents and adults.
While those seeking an intensive 12-step approach might not find their needs met here, the rehab’s motto is “E komo mai, nou ka hale,” which means, “Come inside this house is yours,” and they mean that. Lokahi Treatment Centers provides a variety of low-cost treatment services at convenient locations, with a dose of Hawaiian hospitality.
Lokahi Treatment Centers
68-1845 Waikoloa Rd, 224B
Waikoloa, HI 96738
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