Turning lives around: Former addict builds treatment business in N.J.

Dean Molin was born in Englewood to a family troubled with crime.

With both his father and grandfather in prison, Molin said, he struggled with drug addiction at more than one dozen rehabilitation centers before ultimately ending up in the legal system.

“I ultimately was sent to a boot camp in Mississippi for 13 months,” Molin said. “That’s when I decided to commit my life to helping people in the same situation I had found myself in.”

Today, Molin is the founder and owner of Recovery Placement Services in Long Branch, which provides affordable long-term housing and individualized attention to recovering addicts.

“We design and partner with programs to help people get off of drugs who previously have attempted to do so at the standard of what has been made available to them,” Molin said. “And, at $25 per day, no one has ever been thrown out in seven years over finances.”

Back in Mississippi, Molin was certified by the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors and completed 3,000 hours of on-the-job training at Jackson Recovery Centers.

When he moved to New Jersey, he again was certified by what was then known as the Recovery Assistants Prevention Training program and continued his education by taking courses with Harvard Medical School and the Cambridge Health Alliance in psychiatry and addiction treatment.

It was not until 2011, however, that Molin would create Recovery Placement Services and rent a four-family house in which to provide 12 beds for clients.

“I moved into an apartment in that house because I knew it would be easier to show someone how to get sober that way rather than sending them home to fail,” he said.

He since has grown Recovery Placement Services to four owned properties — three men’s housing and one women’s — and his staff to 23 employees, all of whom are alumni of the program.

“It is very important to us that our staff consists of graduates, because they know what it is like to go through the program,” Molin said. “If our clients have been at least one year sober, they can train with us for 12 months and earn their on-the-job training hours with other local rehabilitation centers, if desired, before working with us full-time.”

A minimum of four staff members currently live on each property, with Recovery Placement Services averaging nearly 65 clients at any given time, Molin said.

“Our staff knows what it is like for the client from Day One to feel insecure, needy and that they don’t belong,” he said. “They know how to get them through that to make them feel more at home.”

Typically, Molin said, after 28 days, recovering addicts are often sent home and told by the average rehabilitation center to complete all of the necessary requirements on their own, such as attending meetings and getting sponsors.

But the average person will not do that alone, Molin added.

“Nobody beats this disease in 28 days, but that seems to be 90 percent of what is made available to the general public,” he said. “By coming in to our structured environment, here, your first roommate could already be nine months sober, and you may be welcomed into their support system,” he said.

What happens most often is that a mother will refer another mother to Recovery Placement Services, Molin said.

“They ask them, where did you send your child? It seemed to have worked for them, and we can’t seem to get the right help,” he said.

Recovery Placement Services works with rehabilitation centers and treatment programs across the tri-state area to find the right paths for each client.

“We place them in the appropriate programs for their individual needs,” Molin said. “Whether it involves outpatient or inpatient treatment, private therapy, sober living — we help take them from the beginning to the end of their first year sober.”

Mike Levy, for example, currently drives clients to and from rehabilitation centers for treatment after graduating from Recovery Placement Services, he said.

But, after graduating from Monmouth College, Levy was sent to rehabilitation after his recreational drug habit turned into a 10-plus-year addiction to opiates and heroin.

“Recovery Placement Services helped me re-create my entire value system,” Levy said. “I had heard about them via an H&I commitment, such as Narcotics or Alcoholics Anonymous, while I was in treatment.

“The gentleman that came in and spoke was a client of Recovery Placement Services and explained to me how the program worked. And, I thought, I needed the sort of structure right now instead of being on my own.”

After achieving sobriety in 2014, Levy said, he moved into Recovery Placement Services in 2015 and, within nine months, was training to become a house manager with the company.

“They were extremely supportive and guided me in the right direction with employment and basic living skills to help me to turn my life around,” Levy said.

Molin said that, if the opiate crisis continues in New Jersey, he would like to rent or purchase one additional home per year, if needed.

But the best part of his work, he said, is seeing how successful his alumni are.

“We have alumni barbeques and holiday parties to celebrate our continued sobriety, and it is great that families get to see that this program actually works,” Molin said.

Recovery Placement Services is available 24/7 at 732-674-7208. More information can be found at www.recoveryplacementservicesnj.com.