Operation PAR was founded in 1970 by Shirley Coletti, a mother who was worried about her teenage daughter’s drug use. Coletti joined forces with other parents, the Pinellas County sheriff, the state attorney and the county commissioner to form Operation Parental Awareness and Responsibility—what is today called Operation PAR. This nonprofit organization offers both residential and outpatient substance abuse treatment in many locations throughout Florida.
Accommodations and Food
The residential facility for youths ages 13 to 17 is on the upstairs floor of the Operation PAR adolescent academy in St. Petersburg. The dormitory-like program houses 16 youths, who sleep in double-occupancy rooms in single beds. Gender-specific bathrooms and showers are located in the halls. There is a rec room where clients can watch movies and interact with one another, as well as participate in arts and crafts. When it comes to fitness, clients have access to a basketball court, gym and a track for jogging.
Clients are never left unsupervised. Staff members accompany them to the showers or bathrooms, waiting outside until the client is finished.
Food is homemade and made on site by cooks. The staff takes care to create a menu that is healthful and appetizing. Any food sensitivities, allergies or dietary restrictions can be accommodated. Clients eat three meals a day and also have snacks throughout the day.
Treatment and Staff
Clients in both residential and IOP treatment receive an assessment with a licensed drug and alcohol counselor and an individualized treatment plan. If round-the-clock care is needed, they enter the three- to six-month residential program, where they participate in gender-specific groups and individual therapy. Evidence-based therapies such as CBT and Motivational Interviewing (MI) are used. Group topics include 12-step education, relapse prevention, developing positive coping skills and stress and anger management. When it comes to the 12 steps, clients have the chance to attend several on-site AA/NA meetings per week; they are also encouraged to get a sponsor. Dual diagnosis treatment is available.
During the first 30 days in residential treatment, clients are not allowed to leave the facility. After that, they start earning passes to leave the site. Schedules are structured and clients are kept busy all day with therapy, meetings, chores and laundry.
The IOP is scheduled in the afternoons and evenings so clients can still attend school. The program meets three times a week, for three hours at a time. This level of care includes both group and individual therapy, covering similar topics to those discussed in residential. The length of time in the program depends on clients’ needs.
Staff members include licensed drug and alcohol counselors, psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists, registered nurses and credentialed teachers. Operation PAR has about 400 employees, so clients get a good amount of individual attention. On average, there are about three clients for every staff member.
There is a public sober school on site at the residential facility with up to 22 teachers. Clients in residential treatment are required to continue their studies, in addition to completing recovery assignments.
For adolescents needing residential or outpatient treatment in Florida, Operation PAR has a lot to offer. The residential program is a good option for youths who require intensive treatment and a lot of supervision, and the IOP program is a great step-down option.
6720 54th Av North
St. Petersburg, FL 33709
Operation PAR Adolescent Program Cost: Sliding Scale (30 days). Reach Operation PAR Adolescent Program by phone at (888) 727-6398 or by email at [email protected]. Find Operation PAR Adolescent Program on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn
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