Ravenel to enter drug treatment - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Ravenel to enter drug treatment

COLUMBIA, SC (AP) - Suspended Treasurer Thomas Ravenel is out of state and in rehab.

Federal prosecutors confirm Ravenel has gone to Arizona for treatment after his indictment on cocaine charges.

The center is just outside Tucson. And it has a long history of helping prominent people with problems.

Ringo Starr went there, and so did Rush Limbaugh. Now, add the name Ravenel to the list of the rich and famous checking in at Sierra Tucson.

Suspended South Carolina Treasurer Thomas Ravenel headed off to the upscale rehab center a little over a week after his federal indictment on cocaine charges.

The 160-acre campus is surrounded by the Sonoran Desert near Tucson, Arizona. It has a reputation for star treatment. Other well-known clients include Whitney Houston, Michael Douglas and Julie Andrews.

The center offers a wide range of programs for all kinds of problems - everything from chemical dependency to gambling and sexual addiction. Therapy can include horse-riding, rock climbing, yoga or acupuncture.

But that doesn't mean the experience is easy. "They'll take away everything you've got and they'll take you into a room and give you a once-over lightly and tell you to strip, because he'll have a cavity check," says Gwen Cameron.

Cameron spent a month at Sierra Tucson, fighting food and alcohol addictions. She now lives in the Upstate. "I thought I was going to a spa. And I thought oh, in my free time - I brought my schedule. You don't have much free time, first of all. And I got there and the reality was quite different. They lure you in with the beautiful setting, but the fact of the matter is, it's a nightmare once you start sitting in meetings."

The center's website says treatment at Sierra Tucson can cost more than $8,000 a week. That would pay for a year of help in programs offered by DAODAS, the state Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services.

Spokeswoman Frankie Long says in either system, there are no quick fixes. "Substance abuse is a disease. And if we look at it as a disease, just like say if a person had hypertension and if a person has hypertension, they're never cured."

Golfer John Daly spent time at Sierra Tucson and he was so impressed, he named one of his daughters Sierra.

Remember Leo McGarry - the president's chief of staff on "The West Wing?" On the show, that character sought treatment for alcohol and valium addiction at Sierra Tucson.

It's not clear how long Ravenel will be there. The government says Ravenel's attorneys have the option of asking a federal magistrate to delay his arraignment, scheduled for July Ninth.

Reported by Jack Kuenzie

Posted by Chantelle Janelle

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