The Next Step
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The Next Step


The Next StepThe Basics

In response to the District of Columbia’s growing drug problem, The Foundation for Contemporary Mental Health established The Next Step, an outpatient substance abuse treatment program, in 1985. Recognizing that addiction is a progressive, medical illness that negatively affects all sectors of society, The Next Step provides a comprehensive, structured curriculum for men and women struggling with addiction and co-occurring disorders. Located across the street from George Washington University, the offices of The Foundation for Contemporary Mental Health are on the fourth floor of an impossible to miss, seven-story new building on F Street, in Foggy Bottom.

Treatment and Staff

Anyone seeking outpatient services at The Next Step must be a resident of DC and be referred either through the court system or through the Department of Behavioral Health, where the initial assessment takes place. If deemed appropriate, clients will be referred to The Next Step. The treatment team consists of four Master’s-level therapists who use a CBT approach to treatment with the assistance of six substance abuse counselors. All group and individual therapy takes place in a classroom- style setting, with a maximum of 12 people to a group.

Regular outpatient clients meet three days a week for two-hour sessions. Groups focus on addiction education, relapse prevention, problem solving, coping skills and, if appropriate, family group. Individuals in outpatient usually attend groups for three months, but that can vary depending on the assessment. Clients with co-occurring disorders have one 60-minute session per week with a Master’s-level therapist.

The Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) meets three times a week for three hours. Group therapy topics mimic those in the regular track, with the addition of goals group and anger management.  At least one 60-minute individual therapy session takes place per week. Length of treatment for IOP clients is typically six months but, as with regular outpatient, that can vary based on need. The 12 steps are introduced in both programs and clients are encouraged to have an AA or NA sponsor after week two in treatment.

For those who are addicted to opiates, an outpatient methadone detox is available. Located in the same suite, the methadone clinic is overseen by a licensed physician and a registered nurse. The duration of treatment and medication dosage is based on individual need. The methadone clinic is open seven days per week, from 6 am until 7 pm. Hours of service for The Next Step outpatient clients is Monday through Friday, from 11 am until 8 pm. Weekend appointments are not available.


The Foundation for Contemporary Mental Health also offers DUI prevention and education courses for people who have been court-ordered to complete a certain number of class hours as part of their sentence.

In Summary

The Next Step program has a long track record of helping people, including addicts, alcoholics and those struggling with co-occurring disorders. Ensuring that clients have a discharge plan that includes getting a sponsor in a 12-step program is reassuring for those who need a lifetime of support.

The Next Step
2112 F St NW #404
Washington, DC 20037

The Next Step Cost: Medicaid or Medicare. Reach The Next Step by phone at (202) 296-4422 or by email at

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