Peer I

For over 40 years, Peer I has been serving adult males referred from the criminal justice system, and over this period the organization has achieved and sustained a national reputation for the effectiveness of these services. These services are grounded in promising and evidence-based practices. Peer I operates two residential facilities on the Fort Logan campus in Denver, CO and provides intensive residential treatment. Peer I addresses substance use disorders, criminal behavior, co-occurring mental health disorders, and the multiple other areas of life functioning that are affected by addiction to drugs.

Program Description

Peer I mens substance use treatment at Addiction Research and Treatment Center in Denver, Colorado.Peer I is an 80-bed Therapeutic Community (TC) that offers long-term, intensive treatment for adult males with chronic substance use disorders, related anti-social behaviors and co-occurring mental health disorders. While in treatment, individuals receive services that not only focus on recovery from substances and maintenance of mental health, but treatment that focuses on social functioning, education/vocational skills, and positive community and family ties. Participants learn to be accountable to the TC community through a hierarchical model of treatment stages that reflect increased levels of personal and social responsibility. The TC model is based on “community as method” or mutual self-help where all individuals within the TC assume responsibility for not only their own recovery, but support of their peers’ recovery, and hold each other responsible for making meaningful changes.

Program Structure

Peer I Program for adult men with substance use disorders at Addiction Research and Treatment Services in Denver, Colorado.Peer I is a highly-structured, scientifically supported treatment model that encompasses progressive phases. They include:

Orientation (Approximately 30 days)

  • Assessment
  • Treatment Planning
  • Motivational Counseling
  • Program Philosophy

Phase I (Approximately 4-6 months)

  • Address issues related to substance use
  • Develop and strengthen problem-solving skills
  • Identify and address behavioral problems
  • Acquire pro-social attitudes and values
  • In-house job assignments
  • Vocational coaching and job search techniques
  • Pursue full-time employment
  • Establish and maintain healthy support systems outside the program

Transitional Phase (Approximately 4-6 months)

  • Re-socialization skills training
  • Increase contact with community (employment, school, support, and leisure activities)
  • Money management
  • Employment placement and monitoring

Treatment Activities

Services and treatment activities at Peer I rely on behavior modification, stages of change, and community reinforcement to help shape pro-social attitudes, behaviors, and enhanced coping skills. Treatment activities include:

  • Extensive Assessment and Treatment Planning
  • Integrated Treatment for Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorders
  • Individual and Group Education and Counseling
  • Relapse Prevention
  • Medication Assisted Therapies
  • Drug and Alcohol Testing
  • Peer Driven Activities-Groups-Meetings
  • Vocational Skills
  • Life Skills Training
  • GED Preparation Classes
  • 12-Step Meetings
  • Coping Skills
  • Psychiatric Consultation and Medication Monitoring
  • Matrix Model Family Group
  • Care Coordination – Linking Men to:
    • Health Care
    • Dental Care
    • Vision Care
    • Transportation

Continuing Care

Individuals who successfully complete treatment at Peer I are able to receive aftercare services at ARTS’ Outpatient Therapeutic Community. The Outpatient Therapeutic Community (OTC) is a continuing care model for men from Peer I who successfully complete residential treatment and progress to a non-residential status. The outpatient component is a minimum of one year or until a client fulfills their legal obligation. The primary goal of the OTC is to foster and support a positive reintegration into the community. Services are gender-specific and include educational and therapy groups, as well as family activities. The OTC program also assists with clients with housing as they transition to the community.

Recreation and Recovery Support Services

Peer I believes that it is vital for men in recovery to learn how to have fun and engage in pro-social activities. Peer I holds an annual camping trip, takes individuals to sporting events, the theater, white water rafting, biking, hiking, mountain climbing and on ski trips. Individuals engage in community “give-back” projects such as assisting local churches; feeding the homeless; helping local nursing homes, animal shelters, community and gardening projects; speaking engagements; and assisting the students enrolled in Metro State’s Criminal Justice Track.

Licensure and Credentials

Peer I is fully licensed by the Colorado Office of Behavioral Health. Peer I contracts with multiple entities, including the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice, Department of Corrections, local probation offices and Signal Behavioral Health Network.


Referrals derive from a myriad of sources, including the Colorado Department of Corrections, Community Correction Boards, probation department, and individuals and their family members.

If interested in learning more about Peer I or to schedule an intake appointment, please call 303-761-2885.