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

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
Medical Director
Nanci Stockwell

Laura Clarke
Marisa Hall

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. 

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

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

Matt Davis
Matt Davis
11:25 13 Sep 19
Good folks good times and good staff
gary metz
gary metz
20:25 11 Sep 19
Am thinking of many things today on 9/11. First, sadness for the loss of so many of our brothers and sisters on this tragic day. Also, I am thinking of how close I was to becoming a statistic of firefighter suicide a little more than a year ago. What I was trying to do to for my PTSD was not working. My family and friends had been trying to convince me to get help for many years. I was finally convinced to make the call for help to the COE when a firefighter friend stopped by my house early morning on a Saturday. We had seen each other socially during the week. He told me that I just wasn't "right"and everyone was worried about me. I made the call to the COE that morning. A call that saved my life. I am blessed to have a brother who took the chance to confront me that morning. Courage. Now as I look back on my 33 days at the center, I realize it took courage to take that step. I did not feel very courageous when I arrived in Maryland. I felt like a failure. I have been retired from the fire service for over 10 years. I was the oldest patient at the center, and didn't feel I belonged or deserved to be there. I was wrong. I found that these feelings of low self esteem were shared by all of the brothers and sisters from California to Texas. From Maine to Florida. Large and small departments. Young and old alike. I was in the right place to begin healing from the traumas of over 35 years as a flight medic and fire medic in the service of others. Now it was time to heal myself. Nothing in life can get better until you get yourself "right". I can only reiterate the positive things that have been said in these reviews has about the facility and staff. They are caring, professional, and competent. But the most amazing part of the treatment is to be in the company of so many wonderful brothers and sisters. We helped heal each other. Laughter and tears. I am hoping firefighters will read this and other reviews and have the courage to take the first step in a lifelong journey of healing from PTSD.Peace and love to all of you from your brother in Colorado
Colton Creative
Colton Creative
15:56 10 Sep 19
If you are unsure, undecided, or think you may not need help but have never reached out to anyone then I highly recommend the center of excellence. As stubborn as I am I never reached out for help. Whatever your reasons are you will not regret going to the center. The therapy of being with your fellow brothers and sisters from the fire service knowing that you are not alone with your problems is an astronomical help in itself. The staff/clinicians are extremely helpful and truly want to help you with solving all of your problems that you come to them with. During my stay every single staff member was willing to go above and beyond to help me and/or listen to any problem that I had. This experience has changed my outlook in life for the better and I truly hope if you are thinking of going to the Center of excellence you take the leap of faith!
Shawn Graham
Shawn Graham
14:41 10 Sep 19
This center isn't just about conquering substance abuse. They open your mind up to understand how to cope with the stresses, traumas, and issues that come with serving in the fire service. Being around other firefighters makes it easier to open up knowing that others have experienced what you have, and talk the same lingo. Throw doubt out the window, this place makes a difference.
Russ Barstow
Russ Barstow
17:00 09 Sep 19
After finally being truthful with myself regarding my alcohol addiction I picked up the phone and made a call to the IAFF Center Of Excellence, the next day I was on a flight from Washington State out to the East Coast for a five week stay at the COE. A little nervous and apprehensive about the choice I made to take this step into the unknown, along with leaving my family for an extended period of time, I must say looking back that this was the best decision I have ever made! From day one I was welcomed with open arms from not only the staff, but more so from all of the outrageous firefighters out there dealing with their own personal battles. The complete staff at the COE are nothing other than top notch, and are excellent in what they do and who they are. I have learned so much about myself, my addiction, and how to use the tools given to me to work on having a much better life beyond addiction. I am very thankful to the COE, it's staff, and the other firefighters out there during my stay for giving me back my health and well being.
Adam Knight
Adam Knight
15:57 07 Sep 19
One year ago today I started my first day of recovery at the COE. I distinctly remember Joe and John had gotten me breakfast because I had such a horrible night's sleep and still didn't know what I had gotten into. As many others have stated, I felt broken, confused, full of guilt, and wasn't sure how sobriety was going to go. Every member and patient reached out with a handshake and a small introduction even though they were or had been broken as well. As cliché as it may by, the COE saved my life. Once I got away from shift work here at home and actually got some good sleep while there, life began to be less foggy. My clinician saved my marriage and helped me through how to be present when with my family rather than be drunk and hung up on traumatic stress. I left 27 days later mended, not fixed, with a clearer path on where I needed to go. This last year has been met with mental highs and lows, but I've been sober. I know I've made a positive impact on others and am using techniques used at the center to assure others the stress we are immersed in while on duty can be dealt with in healthy manners.

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.

Communities We Serve in Maryland

At the IAFF Center of Excellence, we welcome both in- and out-of-state IAFF members, and we are proud to serve the surrounding Maryland communities of:


With a scenic location in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, The IAFF Center of Excellence accepts clients from across the United States and Canada. Call today to learn more about treatment options for IAFF members.

Upcoming Events

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