Behavioral Health Expert Ben Brafman Expands Treatment Facilities to Address Cutbacks in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Funding

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South Florida behavioral health programs are planning a significant expansion in the near future to fill a gap in community resources.

As we expand, we intend to keep the focus on intimate group sizes and a high quality of care.

Behavioral health expert Ben Brafman is spearheading an important expansion in mental health and addiction facilities in South Florida. In light of cutbacks to mental health and substance abuse funding over the past several years, the community lacks comprehensive behavioral health services to meet a growing need. Brafman is the founder and CEO of Destination Hope, Destination Hope: The Women’s Program, and the Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center, all located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

“Destination Hope opened in 2007 with five employees,” said Ben Brafman, a 20-year veteran of the behavioral health industry. “The community need has been overwhelmingly positive. We now have 110 employees spread across our three facilities for men’s addiction, women’s addiction, and mental health.”

Brafman is looking to build a larger campus in Broward County for Destination Hope and Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center, and expects to double the number of employees over the next few years. In addition to expanding treatment programs, Brafman is also looking to expand the Academy for Addiction Professionals, a professionally accredited school for those looking to become behavioral health experts themselves by seeking a career in the field of addiction. The expansion will help meet rising demand for mental health services, especially as the Affordable Care Act continues to take effect. The Affordable Care Act and Parity Act ensure that mental health is covered on par with physical health, meaning that more people should have access to behavioral health experts and treatment under their insurance policy.

“We can accommodate a variety of patient needs, from partial hospitalization programs to intensive outpatient programs along with aftercare and recovery support,” said Brafman. “We focus on long-term results, which is why our programs continue to grow with community need.”

Brafman’s three programs have vibrant and active alumni communities that provide ongoing support for program graduates and participants. Their family-intensive weekends fill up immediately, and the facility staff maintains strong relationships with former clients and their families.

“We have a one to one ratio of staff to clients,” said Brafman, “a statistic that is almost unheard of in the industry and one that we’re very proud of. As we expand, we intend to keep the focus on intimate group sizes and a high quality of care. We are constantly looking for new behavioral health experts and experienced professionals to join our team.”

In 2012, addiction treatment centers in Broward County had an 87 percent rise in admissions for heroin addicts. Destination Hope doubled its number of treatment beds in recent years, primarily for heroin addiction. As heroin use goes up, behavioral health experts like Brafman also see a rise in the abuse of other opioids like oxycodone.

“In 2011, 60 percent of our clients were addicted to opioids,” said Brafman. “That number went up by 25 percent in 2012. The numbers show that the South Florida community needs more quality treatment options.”

Law enforcement in Florida is cracking down on opioid use and the ‘pill mills’ notorious in the state. This is a step in the right direction and does appear to be working, but it does not address a critical factor of increased heroin use.

“We are starting to see the numbers go down in terms of prescription drug overdose,” said Brafman. “But we still have a number of people who are dealing with addiction as a result of this recent trend. We need to expand community healthcare options so that everyone can access treatment.”

About Ben Brafman

Behavioral health expert Ben Brafman, MS, LMHC, CAP, is President and CEO of Destination Hope, a nationally recognized substance abuse and dual diagnosis treatment facility in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and The Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center. With more than two decades of hands-on experience in the field of behavioral health, Mr. Brafman is a leading authority on substance abuse, addiction, mental health and treatment protocols. In 2006, Mr. Brafman founded the Academy for Addiction Professionals, an accredited academic certification program for those wishing to work in the field of substance abuse and addiction. For more information about Ben Brafman, please visit

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Alton Smith

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