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Top Addiction Counselors in Denver, CO

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2020 Colorado had the 29th highest drug overdose mortality rate in the country. That sounds low, but it represented a rate of 24.9 per 100,000 population, up from just 8 in 1999 when it held the 10th highest rate. A 2021 measure of drug use and addiction placed Colorado 20th overall, fifth for the percentage of teen drug users, fourth for percentage of adult users, and number one for the highest percentage of adults with unmet substance abuse treatment needs. One reason for the steep rise is the synthetic opioid fentanyl, a cheap, potent, and more readily available alternative to both heroin and the now tightly controlled legal opioids, such as OxyContin. Fentanyl is as much as 50 times stronger than heroin, so a slight miscalculation in dosage can turn a high into a fatality. Buyers often aren’t aware they are using fentanyl because it is substituted for or added to other drugs. In one December 2021 drug bust, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Denver Field Division seized 110,000 pills laced with fentanyl. Forty percent of them contained a lethal dose. While fentanyl’s potential for fatal overdose is greater, most drugs can kill you, including alcohol, either directly or indirectly. This makes seeking treatment for developing or long-standing substance use disorders, dependencies, or addictions urgent. Below are some of the top Denver addiction counselors who can guide you on the path to sobriety.

1. David J Smith, MA, LPC, NCC, Identity Liberation Counseling

David J. Smith has been a working counselor since 2009 when he completed his master’s in counseling psychology and counselor education at the University of Colorado Denver. He is also a Licensed Professional Counselor and National Certified Counselor. Since 2011 he has owned and operated Identity Liberation Counseling, a private mental health practice. Specialties and areas of interest include substance use disorders (alcohol and drug addiction and dependence) and related mental health issues (mood disorders, anxiety disorders). He sees his role as a facilitator who empowers his clients to discover what works for them. Telehealth is available.

Address: 2640 W. 28th Ave., Denver CO 80211

Phone: (303).725.4367

Email: [email protected]

Website: identityliberation.com

3. Lisa Chapin, MA, LAC, LPC, NCC, Chapin Counseling Services

Lisa Chapin has been a psychotherapist in private practice since January 2015, after completing her master’s in counseling psychology at the University of Colorado Denver. She is the owner of Chapin Consulting Services and a Licensed Professional Counselor, a Licensed Addiction Counselor, and a National Certified Counselor. Among the issues she addresses are addiction, anxiety, depression, trauma, and coping skills. She is also a certified change management professional with a background in military intelligence and telecommunications. Telehealth is available.

Address: 1780 S. Bellaire St. Suite 485, Denver, Colorado 80222

Phone: (720).862.4224

Website: chapincounselingservices.com

4. Christina (Casci) Byington, LCSW, LAC, EMDR, Elevation Behavioral Therapy

Christina (Casci) Byington has been a therapist since August 2015, after completing her bachelor’s in psychology and sociology from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2014, and while working on her master’s in clinical social work from 2014–2016. Since 2021 she has been in private practice as the owner of Elevation Behavioral Therapy. She’s licensed as a clinical social worker and addiction counselor. She’s also trained in evidence-based practices including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) with exposure and response prevention (ERP), motivational interviewing, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). She specializes in addictions, anxiety disorders, and trauma. Telehealth is available.

Address: 300 S Jackson Street, Suite 200, Denver, Colorado 80209

Phone: (720).515.8380

Email: [email protected]

Website: elevationbehavioraltherapy.com

5. Agnieszka Baklazec, MA, LPC, LAC, CFI, Amber Counseling

Agnieszka Baklazec is a therapist and since 2013 owner of Amber Counseling. She’s worked in the mental health field since 2009 when she was a mental health clinician for the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility. She has a master’s in forensic psychology from the University of Denver and is a certified Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Addictions Counselor. She specializes in addiction, trauma, anxiety, and depression. Among the services she offers are eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) and cultural formulation interviews (CFI). Telehealth is available.

Address: 1805 S. Bellaire St., Suite 355, Denver, Colorado 80222

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (720).515.1368

Website: ambercounseling.com

6. Helene Simons, Ph.D. , EdS, Simons Therapy

Dr. Helene Simons is the founder, owner, and chief psychologist at Simons Therapy. She started the practice in 2017 after completing her doctorate in clinical psychology at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology in 2016 and a term as coordinator of the Evening Intensive Outpatient Program at EDCare, an eating disorder treatment center. She takes an empowerment approach to addiction, depression, anxiety, trauma, and other disorders to help motivate clients to improve their lives. Telehealth is available.

Address: 50 S. Steele St., Suite 930, Denver, Colorado 80209

Phone: (720).772.6915

Website: simonstherapy.com

7. Joni Handran, Ph.D. , LCSW, LAC, CACIII

Dr. Joni Handran is a Colorado Addiction Counselor III, as well as a licensed addiction counselor and clinical social worker. She completed her doctorate in social work and education from Colorado State University in 2013. She was a special worker from 2001 to 2019 and has been a therapist in private practice since 2011. Her areas of expertise include substance use disorders (abuse, dependence, addiction), anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and trauma. Telehealth is available.

Address: 2150 W 29th Ave Suite 330, Denver, Colorado 80211

Phone: (720).261.7042

Email: [email protected]

Website: jonihandran.com

8. Selena Sanchez, MA, RP, LAC, CTACC, DC, Back On Track Coach and Counseling Services

Selena Sanchez is a registered psychotherapist, a Coach Training Alliance-certified life coach, and a licensed addictions counselor. Since 2014 she has owned Back on Track Counseling. She treats individuals for mental health disorders such as addiction, anxiety, and depression. Her clients also include people who are incarcerated, on probation, or in violation of parole. Telehealth is available.

Address: 2855 N Speer Blvd, Denver, Colorado 80211

Phone: (720).674.7652

Email: [email protected]

Website: backontrackcounseling.org

9. Lauren Hughes, MA, LPC, LAC, NCC, Counseling Colorado, PLLC

Lauren Hughes is a nationally certified counselor, a licensed professional counselor, and an addiction counselor. She completed her master’s in community counseling from Regis the University in 2010 and founded Counseling Colorado in 2011. Her counseling experience began in a 2003 undergraduate peer counseling class at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her services include interventions for people with drug, alcohol, or related challenges. She is also a trained play therapist. Telehealth is available.

Address: 4770 East Iliff Ave., Suite 109, Denver, Colorado 80222

Phone: 720.336.0030

Email: [email protected]

Website: counseling-colorado.com

10. Weston Zink, LPC, LAC, EMDR, WholeHearted Therapy

Weston Zink is a licensed professional counselor, a licensed addiction counselor, and owner of WholeHearted Therapy. He completed his bachelor’s in psychology from the University of Northern Colorado in 2009 and his master’s in transpersonal counseling psychology from Naropa the University in 2014. He also completed basic training in eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) in 2019. He specializes in addiction treatment and trauma, with a subspecialty in men-specific issues. Telehealth is available.

Address: 7150 E. Hampden Ave, Ste 307, Denver, Colorado 80224

Phone: (720).470.0594

Email: [email protected]

Website: wholeheartedtherapy.com

11. Olivia D. Hannon Cichon MA, LAC, MAC,

Olivia D. Hannon Cichon is a behavioral health provider and owner of Olive Hill Counseling since 2011. She completed her master’s in psychology from Pepperdine the University in 2006, and also has a master’s in counseling and is a licensed addiction counselor. From 2009 to 2013 she was also a clinical specialist, therapist, and case manager at an addiction treatment center in Denver. Her specialties include addiction, behavioral health, maternal mental health (before, during, and after giving birth), and relationships. Telehealth is available.

Address: 10200 E Girard Ave Suite B222 Denver, Colorado 80231

Phone: (720).722.1825

Website: olive-tree-counseling.com

Addiction is not a moral failing or even largely a matter of willpower. While there is a behavioral component, it is now considered a chronic illness akin to diabetes, asthma, hypertension, heart and liver disease, and cancer. There is a genetic predisposition that makes some people more susceptible to substance use disorders. The use and abuse of alcohol, prescription medications, and illegal drugs also physically changes the brain, disrupting the reward system and release of neurotransmitters. This effect is most profound when use starts before the brain stops developing (usually around age 25). Like other chronic illnesses, addiction has no permanent cure. The possibility of relapsing, resuming drug use, remains always. Treatment requires maintenance:
  • Learning new coping skills
  • Avoiding people, places, and situations that could trigger a relapse.
  • Treatment for any co-occurring mental health disorders
  • Membership in a peer fellowship (Alcoholics Anonymous, SMART Recovery) to reinforce sobriety and learn from the experiences of others
The best addiction counselors in Denver, Colorado will give you an aftercare plan and the skills to remain sober long after active treatment ends. Sources
  • cdc.gov – Drug Overdose Mortality by State
  • wallethub.com – Drug Use by State: 2021’s Problem Areas
  • denver.cbslocal.com – ‘This Organization Was Preparing For Battle’: Colorado Authorities & DEA Thwart Major Drug Ring
  • ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Spotlight on Opioids

Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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