This article was originally published on The Orange County Register and was written by Teri Sforza. All rights for this article belong The Orange County Register.
“This is the beginning of your beautiful new life!”
So began a contract for Above It All Treatment Center, a drug rehabilitation facility in Lake Arrowhead where, in February, Matthew Maniace signed himself in for detox.
He was a red-headed, freckle-faced sweetheart-turned-tough guy. His Facebook page showed both sides; photos of puppies licking his face and of his new neck tattoo (part moth, part skull).
Maniace was also an inveterate drug user, with a preference for heroin and alcohol. At 20, he’d been to rehab in at least three states. He was hoping the trip to California – to a licensed center described by a friend of Maniace’s as the “best rehab in America” – would help him seize his elusive prize: long-term sobriety.
What Maniace might not have known when he signed the admission form is that Above It All is what California regulators call a “non-medical” facility, which means it is not staffed by doctors.
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