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. 

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

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

Pete Paolillo
Pete Paolillo
15:31 12 Nov 19
I graduated the program on November 8th after 37 days at the facility. I can't say enough wonderful things about my time there. The staff from the call center folks like Joe, Richard and Cole to the BHT's, clinicians, office staff etc are all second to none. And leading the charge is Marc Hattigan. This guy is absolutely top tier! He is good people. He introduced himself right upon my arrival and never forgot my name. He always asked how I was doing and checked in on me and the other residents at facility. I trusted him implicitly with the well-being of all firefighters who attend this great facility. Of you are on the fence about going, please take the leap of faith and get there. The C. O. E. Absolutely saves lives and saved mine. Thank you
lesley morgan
lesley morgan
22:05 10 Nov 19
I spent 45 days at COE and found the experience so much better than I imagined it would be. It had only been open a short while when I attended and had a hiccup here or there, which is but to expected at any new place, but the staff were immediate when responding to any issues. The help I received to better my mental health was genuine and knowledgeable. From your first phone call to your day there you feel welcome. And being with other firefighters/medics is the strength in your recovery.
Troy Allen
Troy Allen
16:35 07 Nov 19
I highly recommend the IAFF Center of Excellence to any member who is struggling with mental health and/or substance abuse issues. If you are considering going and reading over these reviews, make the call, it will change your life for the positive. The entire staff, no matter what their function, are absolutely amazing and caring. The relationships made and the tools that were taught to manage lifes negative issues will stay with me forever. Make the could save your career and most importantly, your life.
Ted Ritchie
Ted Ritchie
14:19 04 Nov 19
I highly recommend this facility. The staff and the clinicians are extremely insightful and caring and the experience was life-changing for me. For first responders, as well as people in general, there is often a fear of what others may think and you may be struggling with that. The best thing you can do for yourself is getting the help you need and coming to understand yourself and your situation more entirely. Being in public safety takes a high toll on many people that have been following this career path. It also takes a toll on your family. Knowing that there is a center providing the unique kind of support necessary for first responders and getting the help needed made all the difference in my own life. If you are struggling, if you are unsure, reach out and seek the help that’s available. It may very well be one of the best things you ever did.
16:02 27 Oct 19
The staff at the Center of Excellence are amazing. Every single employee there was dedicated to helping me get well and would go out of their way to help. This place exceeded every hope and expectation that I had going in. I am a better man, husband, father, and firefighter because of my experience here. I am unbelievably grateful for the care I received and to be a member of a union that cares enough about its' members to create a place like this. If you have any reservations don't it is an exceptional place full of caring and compassionate people. Plus, there is the incredible therapeutic benefit of being surrounded by brother and sister firefighters that have similar experiences and create a safe, caring, and nonjudgmental environment.
kevin harris
kevin harris
15:58 24 Oct 19
Joe Sawyer has pretty much helped save my life. He is a follow up /alumni specialist. My stay was cut to only 8 days , I came home lost and broken and treading water. Joe was literally at one point the only person I had to talk to that has been there and really understood. He is now saving firefighters. I am proof. The center was awesome and everyone there had the same attitude as Joe. If you have been on the job for a few years, you need to go here! It can save your life! It did mine.

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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