Mr. Ray Estefania is the former Director of South Miami Hospital’s Adolescent Addiction Treatment Program. His current role is Co-Founder and Executive Director of Family Recovery Specialists (Miami, FL), an intensive outpatient program for adolescents and adults that also provides concierge crisis/case management and intervention services for all ages. Mr. Estefania has been working as an addiction counselor for over 20 years and was formerly the Adolescent Program Supervisor at Suburban Hospital’s Addiction Treatment Center in Bethesda, Maryland. He has worked extensively as drug abuse counselor and alcohol abuse counselor, interventionist and as a family therapist in the field of addiction treatment. Mr. Estefania is a considered an expert in the field and frequently provides education and training to physicians, nurses, other mental health professionals, teachers and school administrators on topics related to addiction and recovery.
Mr. Estefania earned his undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Florida and his graduate degree in Mental Health Counseling from Nova Southeastern University. He is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, a Certified Addiction Professional in the state of Florida, an Internationally Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor and a Certified Intervention Professional. In addition, he has received intensive training and supervision at the University of Miami’s Center for Treatment Research on Adolescents Drug Abuse (CTRADA). Mr. Estefania also has extensive education and experience working with many other mental health issues. He has specific experience working as an adolescent counselor but is also comfortable working with adults as well. Ray is also very culturally sensitive and is accustomed to working with individuals and families from very diverse backgrounds. He is also a SMART Recovery Certified Facilitator.
Over the span of his career, Mr. Estefania has also been very involved in the prevention of substance abuse in children. He has organized and implemented numerous substance abuse prevention programs in both public and private schools in the Washington D.C. and South Florida regions. He has acted as a consultant to numerous independent schools to address the issue of student alcohol and substance abuse. He has coached thousands of parents on ways to prevent substance abuse in children. Mr. Estefania is also in private practice in the South Miami area providing psychotherapy, recovery coaching, parent effectiveness training, as well as intervention and placement services to adults, adolescents and families.
He is a member in good standing of the American Counseling Association, the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) and a member of the Network of Independent Interventionists. He was selected to be a member of the City of South Miami’s Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking and Drug Use as well as a member of the Board of Directors for Informed Families, The Florida Family Partnership. Ray is also a member of the Advisory Board for The Health Information Project, a school based health education program which increases awareness and access to healthcare for students in Miami Dade County schools. In addition, Ray is a founding board member of the Therapeutic Consulting Association (TCA), a professional association for therapeutic placement consultants and other referring professionals, dedicated to advancing the field of therapeutic consulting through collaboration, training and education, outcome-based research, support of ethical standards, and an ongoing review of best practices. Mr. Estefania is a frequent speaker to schools, parent groups and community organizations and has been a guest on both radio and television programs on various topics including prevention, parenting, addiction and recovery.
Ray Estefania being interviewed on “This Week in South Florida” with Michael Putney and Glenna Milberg on local ABC channel 10 (July 9, 2017) regarding addiction and the opioid epidemic in Miami-Dade county.
Ana Moreno, MS, LMHC, MCAP, ICADC, CIP, CDWF is a psychotherapist and addiction specialist working in Miami, FL. Ana is Co-Founder and Clinical Director of Family Recovery Specialists, an outpatient treatment program and consulting practice that works with those suffering from addiction and other mental health disorders. Ana has been working in the mental health field for over 14 years and began her career at South Miami Hospital’s Addiction Treatment Center, where she worked as a primary therapist and ultimately as supervisor of the adolescent program.
Ms. Moreno has worked extensively with those individuals who suffer from addiction and other mental health disorders and specializes in working with the families of those in recovery. Ana has specific expertise and experience working with multicultural families both locally and internationally. She has traveled extensively abroad providing education to other professionals on many topics related to addiction and recovery. Ms. Moreno is fluent in Spanish and enjoys utilizing her own multicultural background and upbringing to help guide families through the treatment and recovery process. She often provides consulting services and performs interventions in both English and Spanish and has developed a highly regarded reputation for working with multicultural families from very diverse backgrounds.
Ms. Moreno is former Associate Clinical Director of Lucida, a substance abuse and mental health treatment program in Lantana, Florida. This program was created as a multicultural program taking into account the family dynamics of the Hispanic and Latin population that includes the family as an integral part of the process of recovery.
Ms. Moreno earned her undergraduate degree from Florida International University and her graduate degree from St. Thomas University. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, a Qualified Clinical Supervisor in the state of Florida and a Certified Interventions Professional. Ms. Moreno is a certified facilitator for The Daring Way ™ curriculum, a shame resilience approach to help people recovering from addictions. In addition, she is certified as a SMART Recovery Facilitator. She is a frequent speaker to schools, parent groups, community organizations and has been a frequent guest on both radio and television programs, including CNN (Español), Zona Politica con Helen Aguirre-Ferre and Ahora con Oscar Haza, dealing with issues related to substance abuse and mental health. She has conducted several educational presentations internationally for families and professionals and is often called upon for her expert opinions. Ms. Moreno has been published in an October 2011 study titled “Synthetic Cannabinoid Use: A Case Series of Adolescents and literature review on Autism Disorder and Substance Use in Youth that was presented at The World Psychiatric Conference in Madrid, Spain in 2014.” Ana is a member in good standing of the American Counseling Association and volunteers her time frequently to several organizations, including Informed Families and others.
She is a member in good standing of the American Counseling Association (ACA), a Daring Way Certified Facilitator and a certified SMART Recovery Facilitator.
Ms. Moreno contributed to a study titled Synthetic Cannabinoid Use: A Case Series of Adolescents. This article was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health in October of 2011. To read the article please click here.
Ms. Moreno was interviewed by WSVN in a news story about the dangers in our own homes. There has been an increase in the abuse of prescription medications and over the counter medications by teens and young adults. To learn more please click here.
Parents dreams for the children is for them to accomplish more than they did. What happens if your child is struggling in school? What can a parent do to help their teenagers complete their high school education? Here are some tips
Carlos Larocca, M.D., a specialist in the fields of addiction and family medicine, is Medical Director at FRS. He is also the former Medical Director at South Miami Hospital’s Addiction Treatment Program where he supervised all medical aspects of this hospital-based program. Dr. Larocca has cared for patients struggling with alcohol and drug addiction for more than a decade. He has maintained a private family practice for more than 25 years, where he has also identified and cared for patients suffering from substance use disorders. Dr. Larocca is board certified by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) and is also a member of the Florida Society of Addiction Medicine.
Much of Dr. Larocca’s focus in his practice has been his work with the Spanish population. He works to improve the chance of sustained recovery through treatment and education spoken in the patient’s native language. Dr. Larocca, along with our team of therapists and support staff, is able to provide individualized treatment by understanding the many cultural differences that exist among our very diverse clients and their families. He works in a very caring and compassionate way to help patients better understand their illness and develop maintenance strategies necessary for sustained recovery.
A native of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Dr. Larocca graduated from Universidad de Buenos Aires, Facultad de Medicine in 1979, and completed postgraduate studies at the University of Miami School of Medicine in 1980. He completed his residency at Jackson Memorial Hospital, and worked as chief resident in the Family Medicine Department before going into private practice in 1989. Dr. Laroccca joined FRS in mid-2016 and oversees all our medical treatment and staff.
Kenny Perez, M.D. is a psychiatrist with extensive training at some of the world’s leading medical institutions including Temple University where he attended medical school and the University Of Pennsylvania where he received his residency training in adult psychiatry. While at Penn, Dr. Perez had the opportunity to train under world-renowned experts in psychotherapy, addiction treatment, adult ADHD, depression, bipolar and anxiety disorders. He held leadership positions both at the university level and at regional academic organizations, all while maintaining a balance of professional, effective and empathic patient care. He is currently licensed in the state of Florida to provide general psychiatry services and to administer buprenorphine treatment to opiate addicted individuals. Dr. Perez is also a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. In addition, he is bilingual and is very comfortable working with individuals and families from very diverse cultural backgrounds. He is a member of the American Medical Association, American College of Physicians, National Hispanic Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Dr. Perez began providing psychiatric consultation services to the FRS team in November of 2017.
Diana Garcia received her graduate degree in Counseling Psychology from Florida International University and is currently a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with the state of Florida. She has been working in the addiction field for the over 5 years providing treatment to adolescents and adults presenting with co-occurring disorders. Her experience ranges from working with juveniles involved with the legal system to an inpatient residential program for adults. Through her experience with the legal system, she has been able to provide much needed support and intervention to adolescents in order to prevent further escalation of their addiction. Most recently, she was working with a dually diagnosed, high socio-economic population in an inpatient setting. She has had significant experience working with multicultural clients and is fully capable of providing services in Spanish. She is dedicated to helping her clients and their families through their journey of recovery. In addition, she is a certified SMART Recovery Facilitator and a Daring Way Facilitator.
Daniel Yero is currently a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with the state of Florida and also a Master Addiction Counselor (MAC) certified by the National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals. He has been working for over 5 years in the Miami area, providing addiction treatment to adolescents and adults. His experience in the field of substance abuse ranges from working with at-risk youth to adults across all socio-economic statuses. He is also bilingual and is very comfortable working with individuals and families from very diverse backgrounds. For about 8 years prior to entering the field of substance abuse, Daniel worked with children and adolescents diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Using the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis he taught academics and life-skills to this population. He also provided parent effectiveness training, teaching parents to use key skills in dealing with the many challenges faced by families with Autism. Daniel earned both his undergraduate degree in Psychology and his graduate degree in Mental Health Counseling from Florida International University. He also received specialized training in Applied Behavior Analysis and has effectively used these skills with substance abusing young people. Daniel is now a primary therapist at Family Recovery Specialists having joined the team in October of 2014. He is also a SMART Recovery Certified Facilitator.
John Springle has been an addiction counselor for over 15 years and is a Certified Addiction Professional (CAP) in the state of Florida. He has worked all levels of addiction and mental health treatment, including residential and outpatient programs and is quite accustomed to working with individuals and families from very diverse backgrounds. John worked with both Ana Moreno and Ray Estefania at South Miami Hospital’s Addiction Treatment Program in his role as Primary Therapist and later, Residential Program Supervisor. Prior to joining the FRS team, John worked with individuals with co-occurring psychiatric disorders in a residential setting and most recently; he was running an Intensive Outpatient Program in Broward County. For over 10 years, John has been a facilitator for the Intervention Project for Nurses (IPN), working with licensed health care workers who are suffering with addiction. He is experienced in Joint Commission accreditation and was a professor at the Academy for Addiction Professionals, teaching addiction related courses to students seeking certification. John joined FRS in 2015 and works primarily in the adult outpatient program. John is also a SMART Recovery Certified Facilitator.
Ali Barr is a peer mentor and recovery coach at FRS and she also works in our administrative office. She brings a wealth of personal experience and a true passion for substance abuse recovery. Having been in recovery herself for over 11 years, Ali has vast experience with different aspects of the recovery process. In her supportive role, Ali works closely with our clients encouraging and guiding them in all areas of their lives, in order to help them learn the skills necessary for long-term recovery from substance use disorders and mental health issues. Ali is a caring and compassionate guide that focuses on her clients’ strengths to empower and support them to make their own positive and healthy lifestyle choices. Ali greatly values her own loving and supportive family so she strives to help others establish meaningful relationships in their own lives. During her spare time you can find Ali enjoying the ocean while scuba diving or spearfishing. Ali also likes to travel and often can be seen on social media touring the world and enjoying many amazing and new experiences as a result of the gifts she has received in her personal journey of recovery. Ali is also a Certified Recovery Support Specialist and a Certified Smart Recovery Facilitator.
Tara Mirmelli is currently a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern with the state of Florida and is also a Certified Arise Interventionist (CAI). She has been working in the addiction field for over four years providing addiction treatment to both adolescents and adults. She specializes in working with the families of those individuals suffering from a substance use disorder. Tara currently serves as the program’s family therapist and her role is to provide education and support to the family members of our clients. She earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Boston University and her graduate degree in Mental Health Counseling from Nova Southeastern University. Tara has experience both creating and facilitating family programs customized to fit the unique needs of each individual family. She utilizes both her personal experience of recovery with her own family and her professional expertise to help support individuals and families through their own process of growth. Her empathic regard for each family’s unique challenges and strengths fuels her commitment to supporting all those who are in the process of healing and recovery. Tara joined the FRS team in early 2017 as the program’s family therapist.
Suzan Blacher has over 39 years of nursing experience which includes addiction nursing, home health care, critical care and medical-surgical nursing. Suzan is an Assistant Professor of Nursing at Drexel University. She received her BSN from Barry University in Miami Shores and her MSN from Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA. She has a Certificate in in Complementary Integrative Therapies from Drexel University. Suzan is currently a PhD student in the Barry University Nursing PhD program. Her area of interest is stigmatization in persons with the disease of substance used disorders. Suzan is a Certified Addictions Registered Nurse (CARN) and is Co-Chair of the Addictions Nursing Certification Board. Suzan is also a Tobacco Treatment Specialist and has set up and run tobacco treatment and dependence programs. Suzan began her career in addiction nursing at South Miami Hospital Addiction Treatment program where she worked as a nurse clinician and a staff development educator.