Increased Precautions We're Taking in Response to COVID-19

LAST UPDATED ON 03/15/2021

As updates on the impact of the coronavirus continue to be released, we want to take a moment to inform you of the heightened preventative measures we have put in place at Sierra Tucson to keep our patients, their families, and our employees safe. All efforts are guided by and in adherence to the recommendations distributed by the CDC.

Please note that for the safety of our patients, their families, and our staff, there are certain restrictions in place regarding on-site visitation at Sierra Tucson.

  • These restrictions have been implemented in compliance with updated corporate and state regulations to further reduce the risks associated with COVID-19.
  • Options for telehealth visitation are continuously evaluated so that our patients can remain connected to their loved ones.
  • Alternate methods of communication for other services may be offered when deemed clinically appropriate.

For specific information regarding these changes and limitations, please contact us directly.

CDC updates are consistently monitored to ensure that all guidance followed is based on the latest information released.

  • All staff receives ongoing infection prevention and control training.
  • Thorough disinfection and hygiene guidance is provided.
  • Patient care supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer are monitored and utilized.
  • Temperature and symptom screening protocols are in place for all patients and staff.
  • Social distancing strategies have been implemented to ensure that patients and staff maintain proper distance from one another at all times.
  • Cleaning service contracts have been reviewed for additional support.
  • Personal protective equipment items are routinely checked to ensure proper and secure storage.
  • CDC informational posters are on display to provide important reminders on proper infection prevention procedures.

The safety of our patients, their families, and our employees is our top priority, and we will remain steadfast in our efforts to reduce any risk associated with COVID-19.

The CDC has provided a list of easy tips that can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

For detailed information on COVID-19, please visit

The Importance of Nutritional Therapy for Addiction Recovery

Sierra Tucson – Ranked #1 in Newsweek’s list of Best Addiction Treatment Centers in Arizona for 2020!

Rachel Reid, RD

By Rachel Reid, RD

Seventy four percent of individuals with substance use disorder also suffer from nutritional deficiencies or malnutrition.1 Adequate nutrition and hydration are vital to substance use treatment for restoring physical well-being and mental health and for promoting long-term recovery. Individualized nutrition education and counseling provided by a registered dietitian during substance use treatment has been found to significantly improve sobriety success rates.2

It is well known that substance abuse can significantly impair one’s ability to consume a balanced diet. Substance use also depletes many essential vitamins and minerals in the body, which can exacerbate irritability, sleep disturbance, poor digestion, and a compromised nervous system. It is important to start vitamin and mineral supplementation early in the recovery process.

Moderate amounts of lean proteins are essential for liver regeneration and neurotransmitter production. Lean cuts of pork are a great source of thiamin, which is often severely depleted with alcohol use. Thiamin depletion can cause serious neurological deficits as well as metabolic abnormalities. Mindful portions of healthy fats are beneficial for mood and brain function. Complex carbohydrates are imperative for adequate energy levels, B vitamins, blood sugar control, and gut health. Ample amounts of fruits and vegetables are necessary for a balanced diet, healthy digestion, and nutritional restoration.

During treatment, it is important to manage sugar and caffeine cravings that may arise. Residents at Sierra Tucson sometimes report that highly palatable foods, caffeine and/or nicotine are the only pleasurable substances they have left. Sugar and caffeine may provide a temporary rush, lasting only short term; however, when this feeling wears off, individuals may feel worse. These dietary choices are also not nutrient-dense enough to repair brain, liver, and other tissues that were negatively affected by substance use. Often nicotine use increases during treatment, which can damage taste buds, interfere with hunger/fullness cues, and worsen vitamin deficiencies and dehydration.

Extreme weight changes are common with substance use disorder. These weight changes can heighten depression and can worsen body image issues. Food can also become a cross-addiction, leading to binge eating disorder (BED) or bulimia nervosa. It is common for old eating disorder behaviors to resurface in the absence of substances. Overindulgence of food or food restriction can serve as a distraction or a maladaptive coping mechanism for dealing with unwanted emotions and discomfort during and after substance use treatment. It is important that substance use treatment centers have at least a general knowledge of eating disorder behaviors.

Irritability, anxiety, and decreased mood caused by an unbalanced diet, low blood sugar, dehydration, or excess caffeine can be triggers for cravings, which can cause relapse.3 Individuals should be educated on the importance of nutrition to the recovery process and should be counseled on continuing nutritional supplementation, given it can take 3-12 months for nutritional deficiencies to resolve.4 Meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking are skills that benefit lasting recovery.

Unfortunately, not all treatment centers include nutritional therapy by a registered dietitian. The substance use model, which has been around for many years, did not previously emphasize the importance of nutrition on rehabilitation. We now know that registered dietitians can provide a powerful impact on the treatment process and help support an enduring recovery.

1. Nazrul Islam S, Hossain K, Ahmed A, Ahsan M. Nutritional status of drug addicts undergoing detoxification: Prevalence of malnutrition and influence of illicit drugs and lifestyle. British Journal of Nutrition. 2002;88(5):507-513.
2. Grant L, Haughton B, Sachan D. Nutrition education is positively associated with substance abuse treatment program outcomes. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2004;104(4):604-610.
3. Salz A. Substance Abuse and Nutrition. Today’s Dietitian. 2014;16(12):44.
4. Dekker T, Nutrition & Recovery: A Professional Resource for Healthy Eating during Recovery from Substance Abuse. Toronto, ON: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health; 2000:1-14.