Sierra Tucson

Sierra Tucson


On the same site as its behavioral health residential treatment center, Sierra Tucson operates an accredited and licensed hospital. A team of full-time medical professionals and therapists provide dual diagnosis treatment to individuals who struggle with alcohol or drug addiction as well as depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. The facility, founded in 1983, prides itself on its highly educated staff and the effects of treatment for clients in its serene setting. An on-site detox unit is available through the hospital services and a chronic pain treatment program is also offered.


During intake each client receives physical, psychiatric, and psychological evaluations and medical staff arrange for on-site detox and medication management as needed. Every plan of treatment incorporates some form of education, evidence-based therapeutic practices, and mind-body integrated therapy.

The facility provides access to dialectical behavior therapy and to trauma-specific modalities including eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) and somatic experiencing. Biofeedback sessions, equine-assisted therapy, and acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, and shiatsu are also offered. Clients may be introduced to both traditional 12-step meetings and the SMART Recovery program.

Family members are encouraged to participate in a four-day program during their loved one’s stay, and continuing care is offered to clients for a year following their treatment.


According to the facility’s website, the treatment team is comprised of physicians, social workers, counselors, and nurses, all of whom hold M.D., Ph.D., or Master’s degrees. Some staff members are trained in naturopathic medicine.


The rehab center and on-site Desert Flower Hospital are set on 160 acres of Arizona desert with views of the Santa Catalina Mountains and scenic walking trails. Personalized nutrition plans are offered and residents share semi-private rooms, although single rooms may be available in some circumstances. Some clients participate in art and drama therapy as well as using the on-site climbing wall, ropes course, and yoga studio.


Data collected by indicate very strong alumni satisfaction with the facility and in particular with living arrangements, staff, and the offering of diverse holistic therapies. Close to 80 percent of 20 alumni polled would recommend Sierra Tucson. Asked to rate accommodations on a scale of one to five, they provided an average response of 4.55. In written reviews, however, three reported that the setting was not luxurious nor what was presented through marketing. One alum wrote anonymously: “The staff was caring and loving. However, it was not always the cleanest.”

In fact, of five alumni polled on the effectiveness of treatment, all gave four- or five-star ratings but one, and a metric measuring the program’s blend of therapies received a 4.21-star average rating from 19 surveys. However, several alumni described difficulty in accessing or scheduling the offered sessions.

Additional repeated complaints included poor follow-up and aftercare and too many patients, while multiple alumni cited the experience of helpfully addressing problems they hadn’t expected to deal with as a strength.


Ten loved ones polled by would all recommend the facility, providing nearly universally favorable ratings to each of 15 metrics measured. The program’s affordability received the lowest average rating and accommodations the highest.


All three current or former employees polled recommended Sierra Tucson, but two identified financing and costs as a weakness.


Treatment costs $49,000 per month, or $1,633 per day and clients may be able to apply out-of-network insurance coverage.

A majority of reviewers commented on the facility’s high cost. A little under half of these concluded that the experience was worth its cost, while the rest disagreed, some claiming the facility was too motivated by finances. Representing the former perspective, one alum wrote: “Super place just very expensive…Worth the cost because treatment was successful.”


In July 2016, the Arizona Daily Star reported that the facility was fined by the state for deficiencies in its acute psychiatric services. Since 2011, five male patients died while under care at the facility. At the time of the fine, the state found that sufficient improvements had been made to continue the program’s licensing. A statement from the facility included in the Star article emphasized its history of providing “clinical excellence and care” to clients and a commitment to continuous training and reviews.

Sierra Tucson is a member of the Acadia Healthcare network.

Sierra Tucson Reviews

Ok, this place is not what it seems (or what, I have also heard, what it used to be). The food was acceptable to good. The rest???? Terrible and a waste of money. I went there seeking treatment for PTSD. Unfortunately, PTSD requires a lot of treatments that are one-on-one and so costly. What did Sierra Tuscon do? Well, they stuck me in a program for alcohol use disorder with no way out. When I complained, I got a few "added" sessions for the actual issue of PTSD. I was told that, if I left early, my insurance wouldn't cover ANY of the treatment. So...stupidly I stayed. It turns out, Sierra Tuscon knew from my second day there that my insurance wouldn't be covering it anyway (for alcohol use or PTSD). I wasted a month of my life here. The rooms and amenities were crap. There were drugs EVERYWHERE. Seriously, I didn't go in there with a substance abuse disorder but...if I was looking to pick up a substance use disorder, I would have gone there to get it. Meth, opiates, pot, cocaine--the only thing I literally didn't see there was alcohol. This place shoudl be shut down. I mean, dead bodies of old patients have been found there. Not a bit surprised. My only surprise is that there weren't more of them.
I hope that by sharing my experience, I can help another family avoid a huge disappointment and a waste of time and money. My young adult son wanted help with anxiety and sobriety. After six weeks of research, we selected Sierra Tucson. We had doubts, but we were reassured by a very persuasive treatment placement specialist who works with Acadia (note that once my son decided to go to Sierra Tucson, she didn't return his or my calls). We understood that he would receive a THOROUGH evaluation - this did not happen. He arrived, and they made immediate changes to his medication which made him ill. We were told that the treatments included in his care, e.g., EMDR, yoga, acupuncture, etc. would be determined by the "mood track" identified in his treatment plan. We were also told that he would have both a primary therapist and a primary MFT therapist. He only had a primary therapist and saw her once per week. Unless you find attending lectures all day as therapeutic, you will be sadly disappointed. I can only hope that his classes were not anywhere near as awful as the videos sent home for families. He only stayed 16 days, and during that time, he did not receive a treatment plan or any information from the "evaluation". While he was in the program, I left three messages for the Associate Clinical Director - she never returned my calls. Good luck out there - it is hard to find good programs!
I had a normal, delivery of vaporizers (30 for 30$), taking not illegal (under 21) and I am NOT profiting. The confiscated these and told us the reasoning is just “No” and “we can’t tell you why.” On top of packages being held in the mail room for days containing essentials, and the basic lack of communication makes getting your needs met or any questions answered. Most all upper management issues, most staff is fine.
Really loving and caring staff. As I've mentioned elsewhere, Sierra Tucson will not cure you in only a month, but it will likely stabilize you, and you're likely to feel very loved by the fellow residents. I felt like the staff was overall very caring and professional. A lot of the furniture, bathrooms, and carpeting, especially in the men's lodge, are very ugly and outdated. The gymnasium (Activities Building) is very ugly and desperately needs a renovation. It would be nice if very-wealthy Acadia Healthcare spent the money to renovate these things. The food is pretty good considering that nearly everything is cooked in bulk, but it would be nice if they hired some additional professional chefs to make some special gourmet dishes one at a time at each meal. Anywho, I'm definitely glad that I recently attended Sierra Tucson for a month.
STAY HOME or find a different facility. My daughter spent four weeks there and came home angrier than she has ever been. There was no healing at all.