Lionheart Recovery Center

LGBTQ+ Resources Abound at Las Vegas Center
Treating Substance Use and Abuse

By Joslyn Hatfield // Photography by Lauren McDougall

Lionheart Recovery Center is a brand-new, ultramodern substance abuse treatment program located in the heart of Las Vegas. The new center and community resource offers a refreshing change to addiction treatment with tailor-made treatment plans including practitioners and staff equipped to meet the unique needs of LGBTQ+ people. “Our goal is to be an all-inclusive facility that meets everyone where they are at in their recovery,” said COO & Program Director Kayla Briers. “We create an individualized treatment plan based on goals developed as a team with the client and our providers.”

Clients can expect a purpose-driven experience at the facility such as intentional policies for gender expression, identity and sexual orientation. Specifically, policies are in place to protect transgender people and other gender non-conforming identities (should the need arise). The facility operates with the expectation that maintaining a safe, healing and inclusive environment is a shared responsibility for staff and clients alike. “Lionheart provides frequent, up to date trainings about the needs of transgender people, remove treatment barriers, and strictly enforce this policy,” said Briers. “This will help make sure transgender people and other gender non-conforming individuals are treated with dignity and respect and enjoy equal rights and freedom from discrimination.”

Kayla Briers

Kayla Briers, LMFT, LCADC, COO and Program Director

According to the NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse, LGBTQ+ people often face social stigma, discrimination, and other challenges not encountered by their heterosexual peers. They also face a greater risk of harassment and violence. As a result of these and other stressors, sexually and gender diverse people are at increased risk for various behavioral health issues.1

In fact, LGBTQ+ individuals often enter treatment with more severe substance use disorders (SUDs).1 Addiction treatment programs offering specialized groups for LGBTQ+ identities showed better outcomes compared to non-specialized programs. But in one study, only 7.4 percent of programs evaluated offered specialized services for LGBTQ+ patients.1

“LionHeart specializes in treating the underlying trauma that contributes to the substance use. Our clinicians use EMDR, cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, art, music, equine, and other therapies to address the trauma,” said Briers. “It is important that our programs address the unique factors facing the LGBTQ+ community, such as homophobia, violence, and social isolation. We also integrate nutrition and fitness classes to help each client feel better physically and emotionally.”

The opening could not come at a better time. Nevada’s health provider shortage is well documented, but a lesser-known fact is that before LionHeart opened its doors, it is estimated that there were just 360 operational detox beds within six facilities to service a state of over 3 million people. The state has the fewest substance abuse facilities per 100,000 people in need of their services (defined as drug dependent or addicted) in the nation. It projected that approximately 10 % of the adult population of Nevada is afflicted by substance abuse and ranks near the bottom of states with unmet drug-treatment needs.

The Lionheart belief system is at the core of programming and the new facility defines itself by its values, compassion, capacity and continuity. Every decision is anchored by compassion for clients creating a rehabilitation oasis that nurtures sobriety, hope, and aspirations for a brighter future. Lionheart Recovery Center stands in solidarity with those needing treatment and the friends and family who support their journey.

“We work with various organizations in the community, including The Center, to give our clients opportunities to find meetings, activities, and other interests to keep them motivated and find their happiness again. We understand that to sustain long-term recovery, all aspects of life need to be addressed. Without resolving any mental health concerns, financial stressors, securing stable housing, and gaining a sober support system, you aren’t giving yourself the best chance at recovery.”

With the strength of a lion’s heart the facility stands ready to help clients pursue a sustainable recovery from addiction. For more information and resources, visit

1. Substance Use and SUDs in LGBTQ* Populations

Las Vegas PRIDE Magazine - Issue 37

This article was originally published in the 2022 New Year Issue of Las Vegas PRIDE Magazine, and can be read in its original format here.