The IAFF Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Treatment and Recovery

Through a partnership between the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) and Advanced Recovery Systems, a nationwide leader in rehabilitation and behavioral health, the IAFF Center of Excellence is a flagship recovery center where IAFF members can heal from behavioral health conditions.

The first of its kind, the IAFF Center of Excellence offers treatment exclusively for fire fighters, dispatchers and first responders. We offer treatment for mental health conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and complicated grief, along with rehab for drug and alcohol abuse.

Our Facility

Located in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, the IAFF Center for Excellence is approximately 30 minutes from Washington, DC, and an hour from Dulles International Airport. Designed with fire fighters in mind, our 15-acre campus is ideal for focusing on treatment and recovery. Our dual-diagnosis rehab programs balance medical support with mental health counseling, while our recreational therapies facilitate whole-person healing.


Our Location

IAFF Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Treatment and Recovery
13400 Edgemeade Rd
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772

(301) 358-0192

Levels of Care

Now Offering Online Counseling Services

Getting treatment for substance abuse and mental health issues with online rehab and counseling just got easier. The IAFF Center of Excellence now offers teletherapy treatment for fire fighters and first responders who are struggling from substance abuse and mental health issues.

At Advanced Recovery Systems, patient safety is our top priority. We remain open and committed to providing critical addiction treatment. We are closely monitoring all developments associated with Coronavirus (COVID-19) and are taking proactive steps to ensure the health and safety of all patients, employees and the communities we serve.

To ensure you have full access to our rehab and therapy services, know that our staff is experienced and trained in telehealth and online counseling services for mental health, addiction, and overall drug and alcohol rehab support.

We’re still here for you during the coronavirus pandemic, because we’re in this together.

Paying for Rehab

At the IAFF Center of Excellence, we accept:

Our Staff

Our full-time medical and clinical staff at the IAFF Center of Excellence empower people to get back to the careers they love with renewed health and vitality.

Abby Morris
Abby Morris
Medical Director
Nanci Stockwell
Nanci Stockwell
Clinical Director

Laura Clarke
Laura Clarke
Senior Vice President of Operations
Marisa Hall
Marisa Hall
Director of Nursing

Our Accreditations

The IAFF Center of Excellence is accredited by The Joint Commission and licensed by the state of Maryland for both substance abuse treatment and mental health treatment. 

NAATP member logo

the joint commission logo

Tour Our Facility

Tour the IAFF Center of Excellence virtually to view or facility and amenities.


Depending on the level of care, indoor and outdoor amenities at the IAFF Center of Excellence may include:

  • Swimming pool
  • Recreation room with foosball and pool tables
  • Fully equipped exercise gym
  • Basketball court
  • Volleyball court
  • Wood-lined walking trails
  • Yoga and mindfulness therapy
  • Designated smoking areas
  • Computer lab
  • Off-site activities

IAFF Center of Excellence volleyball court

What to Expect

It’s our goal to provide each IAFF member with a safe environment, free from familiar triggers, distractions and stress. Knowing what to expect during rehab can help inform clients about what to bring along and prepare them for a positive treatment experience.

We recommend that all clients bring:

  • Insurance and pharmacy card and a state ID or driver’s license
  • One week’s worth of season-appropriate clothing, including workout clothing and a jacket or sweater for indoors
  • Prepaid credit card or cash, which will be retained by staff when not in use
  • Sealed (unopened) alcohol-free toiletries, including shampoo and conditioner, sunscreen, face wash, lotion and feminine products
  • Any tobacco product you wish to use during the length of your stay if you’re under the age of 21

The following items aren’t permitted at the IAFF Center of Excellence:

  • Drugs or alcohol, drug paraphernalia and clothing depicting drugs
  • Products that contain alcohol, including hand sanitizer, mouthwash and other toiletries
  • Vaporizers (vaping devices, vapes)
  • Weapons (including pocket knives)
Read More

What Does the Treatment Process Look Like?

The IAFF Center of Excellence is licensed to offer evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders and mental health conditions, whether or not the issues co-occur. Specialists at the center formulate treatment plans to address one or both conditions for each client, depending on their needs.

Rehab at the IAFF Center of Excellence is tailored to each IAFF member’s unique needs. However, regardless of a client’s specific treatment plan, rehab usually follows an outlined process, beginning with an evaluation and ending with aftercare planning.

  • Intake Evaluation

    Upon arrival at our facility, IAFF members participate in a comprehensive screening process that includes mandatory searches and a medical exam. We evaluate past and current drug use, along with mental and physical health to create a treatment plan for each client.

  • Clinically Managed Detox, If Applicable

    If an IAFF member needs treatment for drug or alcohol abuse, they will likely first go through clinically managed detox to cleanse their body of drugs or alcohol. This essential level of care prepares people to transition to further rehab programming, like inpatient treatment.

  • Substance Abuse Treatment

    After participating in detox, clients who struggle with drug or alcohol abuse can enroll in further programming for substance abuse, including inpatient, partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient care. In addition to medical support, mental health counseling is included in each level of care. Once it’s deemed medically appropriate, clients can also transition to outpatient programming in preparation for returning to daily life after rehab.

  • Mental Health Treatment

    For clients who do not need substance abuse treatment, we offer a variety of programs (inpatient through outpatient) to address behavioral health concerns like PTSD, depression, anxiety, grief and other conditions.

  • Aftercare Planning

    All clients leave rehab with a solid aftercare plan that outlines necessary follow-up appointments with doctors and therapists. Our case managers work with each client to set up aftercare plans with recommendations specific to a client’s hometown.

What Our Clients Say

Jesse S.
13:41 26 Jun 20
This place is what you make of it and the sky is the limit if you commit to the amazing staff from the top down. Well organized and well maintained level of committed people making a difference every single minute of everyday. This place not only saved my life but helped the ones close to me see the person that I was striving to be but was blinded for so long. This place is second to none and I am proud to say I’m a alumni and will be continuing my aftercare at this magical place.
Andy J.
22:29 19 Mar 20
Really glad I made the call. Great staff and great facility. Def left a changed individual! If ever thinking about it, just call them!!
Kevin M.
16:54 08 Mar 20
If you are a firefighter or wanting to help a firefighter who may be in need of help, whether it be substance abuse, PTSD, or not even sure where to have come to the right place, as all is not lost, and ones decision to acknowledge they are in a dark state doesn’t have to be the beginning of the end, whether it involves legal issues, marriage, your children, friends, future of fire department career, or your life as it once was. I can say this because not to long ago, I was reading these reviews, not writing one. I’ve been a firefighter for 18 years now and I’m not sure when exactly I started to loose my footing with my family/life and department, but I was on my way to “rock bottom”. Words do not describe the gratitude myself and those close to me have for the IAFF Center of Excellence taking the shovel away from me so I’d stop digging my own hole, and in-turn lend me a hand to become the husband, father, friend, and firefighter I once was. I now have a new lease on life, one that looks forward to my future and being able to help others along the way. What’s scary to me relating to our firefighting profession, is the cultural disconnect between what we see every third day, and how it affects us mentally over the years of our career. Unfortunately, there are no physical scars to tell the story of our past, instead we carry the ones we couldn’t save in our head. While they may no longer be on this earth physically, some memories/calls can’t be let go. We bury our past “bad” calls and move on. The downside of this is it only works until it doesn’t, this is what this center is all about. Helping firefighters and their families get their lives back. If your on the fence about this place call them today please before it’s too late.
Andrew F.
01:53 24 Feb 20
The COE saved my life. I learned a lot about my mental health and sobriety and made lifelong friends there. The Brotherhood is what makes the Center work as well as it does. I didn’t give 5 stars because their contact with my support person (spouse) was poor to say the least. My wife thought that I was living on an all-inclusive resort and having to much fun. It would have been nice if they could have emailed my wife a syllabus of our courses (with a brief description) each week and maybe the menu for the week. The one hour phone conversations once a week just don’t do enough for a healthy marriage. The Center should suggest that the support people/person back home receive their own individual counseling! Clean facility, great food, great staff!
Matt L.
18:46 21 Feb 20
I am a career firefighter of 15 years. I could fix everyone's problems but my own! My family and I had become mentally exhausted trying to figure out why I was acting and feeling down and depressed. My anxiety levels were uncontrollable. I had lost touch with nearly every emotion besides anger. I had gone thru the normal steps of counseling and it just wasn't working. When I heard about the IAFF COE I was skeptical. It was one of the hardest decisions I ever made to leave my family for a unknown period of time to seek treatment. All I can say is " I wish I had done it sooner". When I arrived and was greeted by my fellow brothers and staff, it was amazing. I knew I was where I needed to be. If you are reading this you need to be there! Don't waste any more time or burn any more bridges. You cant fix it by yourself! You don't know how! You don't have the tools! They gave me the tools and taught me how to use them.
Brendan T.
20:23 17 Feb 20
This place is amazing. It saved my life. The staff from top to bottom is second to none. The bond forged with fellow firefighters going through similar demons is what makes this place the best. You feel welcome and safe. The work is up to you but you are taught everything you need to know. You will no longer just have to survive in life, you will thrive after coming here! If you need help, this is the place to start.

Alumni Testimonials

Angela and Jeff both struggled with substance use and the pressures that come along with their jobs as firefighters. With the help of the IAFF Center of Excellence, both Angela and Jeff are on their path to life long recovery. You are not alone in your recovery journey with mental health, substance abuse, and PTSD. The IAFF Center Of Excellence is here to help.

Frequently Asked Questions

We understand that you may have questions about rehab. We’re always willing to answer frequently asked questions about rehab, including:

  • Is rehab confidential?

    Yes, rehab at the IAFF Center of Excellence is always confidential, and your presence here will only be disclosed to the people you choose. Your union leaders, fellow fire fighters, friends and family members will not be informed of your treatment without your consent.

  • Is cell phone use allowed during treatment?

    Cell phones will be securely stored upon arrival and returned at discharge. Following an initial adjustment period upon arrival, clients may use our facility’s phones three times a week.

  • Will the IAFF Center of Excellence pay for traveling to rehab?

    No, our facility does not pay for transportation to or from the center, but representatives can help clients coordinate travel arrangements, if necessary.

    Read About Traveling to Rehab

  • How long does rehab last at the IAFF Center of Excellence?

    Treatment program lengths at the IAFF Center of Excellence vary depending on each client’s needs. We understand that many fire fighters and first responders may be concerned about time spent away from their jobs, but typically, the longer a person stays in treatment, the better equipped they are to handle life after rehab.

Call our facility, view answers to other frequently asked questions or read our full what to expect guide for more answers about rehab.

Upcoming Events

There are no upcoming Events at this time.