Phoenix House Celebrates 40 Years of Saving Lives

Monday, July 2nd, 2007

– Anniversary Celebration Brings Together Community Partners –

VENICE BEACH, CA, July 2, 2007 — Phoenix House, the nation’s largest non-profit substance abuse treatment and prevention organization, held a 40th anniversary event outside its Venice Beach facility on June 29 where public officials, board members, and more than 200 guests celebrated the thousands of men, women and teenagers who have changed their lives through Phoenix House programs.

“The success of Phoenix House has always depended on the support of our partners in the community,” said Winnie Wechsler, executive director of Phoenix House California, citing more than 150,000 young men and women nationwide who have been treated by Phoenix House across the nation.

Against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Zev Yaroslavsky presented a plaque of recognition to Phoenix House leaders, including founder Mitchell S. Rosenthal, M.D.; national chief clinical officer David Deitch; and Phoenix House California Board chairman George E. Handtmann, III. Congresswomen Jane Harman and Loretta Sanchez also offered certificates of recognition to Phoenix House for its commitment and contribution to the people of Southern California in need of intervention for their addictions. In addition, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officials that work closely with Phoenix House participated in the program including Del Sayles-Owen, director, Division of Community Partnerships, and Joe Ossman, parole administrator, Division of Adult Parole Operations.

Phoenix House’s roots reach back to a tenement apartment building in New York City where a small group of former heroin addicts lived together to stay clean. Phoenix House has grown into an organization that now operates more than 100 programs, and treats more than 6,000 men, women and teenagers each day in New York, California, Texas, Florida, and throughout New England.

“Since our earliest days, Phoenix House has been committed to offering troubled youth and adults, regardless of economic status or ability to pay, the chance to turn their lives around,” explained Mitchell Rosenthal, M.D. “Our anniversary is really a celebration of their victories over substance abuse and their lessons of honesty, responsibility, and concern for others on their road to recovery.”

A pioneer in the treatment of addiction, Phoenix House has produced some of the earliest research in the field and introduced the “Academy” model of treatment for teenagers so they can catch up on the education they lost to substance abuse. It was also the first to focus on the role of the family in prevention and treatment.

In California, Phoenix House launched its first adult treatment program at Santa Ana in 1979 and three years later expanded its services with the opening of the state’s first Phoenix Academy for adolescents. Currently, more than 1,750 adults and teenagers receive treatment each day through 25 Phoenix House programs and facilities located in Lake View Terrace, Los Angeles, Santa Ana, Santa Fe Springs, Encinitas, and Monrovia.

Located on the beach in Venice, Phoenix House Los Angeles has enjoyed the support of the local community for more than 21 years. Thousands of men over the years have passed through their doors, leaving empowered with the skills to lead healthy, productive and rewarding lives. In an effort to give back to the community, residents regularly assist other community organizations and neighbors with food drives, tree planting, neighborhood cleanup projects, and local events. Wechsler said similar community outreach programs are a mainstay at Phoenix House, including the Phoenix Academy speaker’s bureau where teens visit community events and schools to share their stories of recovery and the importance of prevention.

Interested individuals can get involved, make a donation, or find out more information about Phoenix House by contacting Stephanie Horsley at 1 888 671 9392.

Media Contact:

Linda O’Hanlon
Attn editors: High resolution images are available
1 888 671 9392

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Zev Yaroslavsky (far right) attended Phoenix House’s 40th anniversary event in Venice Beach, California on June 29, 2007, pictured here with (left to right) George E. Handtmann, III, Phoenix Houses of California chairman of the board, and Winnie Wechsler, Phoenix Houses of California executive director.

More than 200 people gathered at Phoenix House’s 40th anniversary celebration on June 29 held outside the organization’s Venice Beach, California facility. The event celebrated the success of Phoenix House’s treatment model in saving thousands of people’s lives lost to drug addiction.

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Zev Yaroslavsky (far left) presented a plaque to the leadership of Phoenix House at its 40th anniversary event in Venice Beach, California on June 29, 2007. Accepting the plaque were (left to right) Mitchell Rosenthal, M.D., Phoenix House founder, Winnie Wechsler, Phoenix Houses of California executive director, and George E. Handtmann, III, Phoenix Houses of California chairman of the board.

Photographer: David Kawashima

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