Located in downtown Champaign, Illinois, Prairie Center Health Systems’ residential services program offers clients an opportunity to seek recovery from substance abuse and alcoholic addiction with a traditional 12-step approach, supplemented by intensive counseling. Prairie Center’s programs have evolved over the past 40 years, having initially emerged from the work of three agencies, The Champaign County Council on Alcoholism, the Gemini Foundation and the Mustard Seed Foundation.
In addition to treating addiction, Prairie Center also offers support for those suffering from a dual diagnosis. In addition, Prairie Center offers HIV testing and education, as well as services for those with DUI convictions.
Because they operate mainly on state and federal funding, Prairie Center puts priority on pregnant-and-injecting women, postpartum women, addicts who are HIV-positive and addicts who are at risk of becoming HIV-positive. Finally, they also take referrals from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
Accommodations and Food
The exterior of Prairie Center’s quaint Tudor building gives no indication of its current function. A former Elks Lodge, the building has subsequently been divided and subdivided to accommodate 20 residents. As of January 2015, 12 men and eight women were in residence in the secure facility, with the genders separated by floor. Every resident gets a roommate, and each room offers sparse decoration: two twin beds, a beige wooden dresser, nightstands and table lamps.
Furnishings in the living room are equally simple, with futon-like couches with wood frames and red cushions, coffee tables and a rectangular fold-out table with matching chairs that evokes IKEA. The living room has a fireplace, but all the rooms exhibit a bare bones ambience with little other than the essentials. Residents may watch TV on a limited basis but cell phones are prohibited (though clients can receive messages via Prairie Center’s main phone number). Meals featuring basic menus are served three times a day in a utilitarian cafeteria on the first floor. Prairie Center doesn’t accommodate special dietary needs.
Treatment and Staff
Residents must detox off the premises. Once admitted to Prairie Center, each client undergoes a physical exam and a substance abuse assessment. These assessments determine placement and length of stay. Residents are assigned account representatives to help determine the cost of stay based on income, insurance coverage and other factors; they can also assist with access to public funding.
Inpatient treatment programs can last as few as 10 days, but most residents enroll for between 30 to 60. A typical daily schedule lasts 10 to 12 hours, during which clients participate in individual and group counseling, recreational groups, educational lectures on addiction and on- and off-site 12-step meetings (with transportation provided to the off-site ones). Clients also receive regular, random drug tests while enrolled at Prairie Center.
Prairie Center believes in the disease model of addiction and uses evidence-based treatments such as Hazelden’s Living in Balance program; they also use Dr. Lisa Najavits’ CBT program for co-occurring PTSD and addictions, Seeking Safety. As its name suggests, Najavits’ method aims to help addicts and victims of PTSD develop a sense of security as they recover from addiction and trauma.
Therapy also incorporates methods derived from the work of Claudia Black on ACOA issues, as well as the work of Terence T. Gorski. All treatment relies heavily on counseling, with group settings featuring Motivational Interviewing (MI) and relapse prevention. Unlike many facilities, the Prairie Center does not offer any specific family program.
The staff consists of over 20 licensed and certified professionals in the field of addictions and recovery, including social workers, clinical counselors and nurses, all under the supervision of a clinical director. Nurses are on duty 24 hours a day, although there’s no doctor on-site. Hospital transportation is available.
The Illinois Department of Human Services works with the Prairie Center’s residential program to offset costs, allowing it to function essentially as a “free rehab” for financially destitute residents. Most residents fall under state and federal guidelines that constitute poverty. Payment plans are available, and Prairie Center accepts some forms of health insurance. Prairie Center also has a contract with the Federal Bureau of Prisons to provide halfway housing and other services for federal inmates. Typical waiting time to get into the inpatient program is one to two weeks.
Though light on recreational activities, the Prairie Center does boast a modest exercise room with free weights, and also offers art therapy to clients as a way to relax. They also have an on-site laundromat, and offer aftercare at two outpatient facilities in Urbana and Danville. Finally, they have a 24-hour hotline and employment counseling for those looking to reintegrate into society after incarceration.
Prairie Center provides free and low-cost residential treatment to clients who are often dealing with multiple challenges, be they extreme financial hardship, medical issues and co-occurring disorders. Many have just been released from jail or prison. These challenges often characterize people who have experienced classic “low bottoms” in addiction. The focus here is on providing treatment rather than fancy accommodations. Those seeking luxury and an abundance of creature comforts won’t find them here, but Prairie Center offers specialized medical treatment and dedicated counselors using state-of-the-art techniques derived from the disease model of addiction. Treatment here is intense and rigorous, but also engaged.
Prairie Center Health Systems
122 West Hill St
Champaign, IL 61820
Prairie Center Health Systems Cost: $150-$12,000 (30 days). Reach Prairie Center Health Systems by phone at (217) 356-7576 or by email at [email protected]. Find Prairie Center Health Systems on Facebook and Twitter
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