Psychiatrist at new substance clinic has addiction and recovery in his own past

Local News

TAYLORSVILLE (ABC4 News) – The owners of a new addiction recovery clinic hope to help in battle against Utah’s opioid crisis and the psychiatrist running the clinic has fought his own battles in the past.

Dr. Joel Hanson M.D., the Medical Director of the new Ascendant Behavioral Health’s Comprehensive Treatment Center on Riverboat Road, has experience in treatment and recovery both as a psychiatrist and as a patient.

Ascendant CEO Siamak Khadjenoury told ABC4 News he’ll be in charge of all patient services.

“Dr. Hanson is a board-certified general adult psychiatrist,” Khadjenoury said. “He is going to see each and every patient and he is going to lead the entire treatment team…He drives the entire treatment.”

According to a Deseret News article from June of 2000, Dr. Hanson pleaded guilty to felony witness tampering and misdemeanor privacy violation after he pretended to be a professional photographer and secretly videotaped two women undressing inside a motor home. The conviction has been expunged from court records but the article states “The witness-tampering charge stemmed from Hanson’s alleged threat after they had found the camera, to distribute nude photos of them if they contacted police.”

The judge sentenced him to serve 30 days in jail, participate in an intensive community sex offender program and attend Sex Addicts Anonymous.

“I’m fine talking about my previous addictive issues,” Dr. Hanson said in an interview Tuesday.

Asked if it was sex addiction, he replied, “I don’t really want to get into the details. Some people, you know, I’m fine, it’s a touchier subject than chemical addictions for some people understandably.”

What does he tell people now about his personal story and his past?

“Um, depends on the situation,” Dr. Hanson said. “I’m fine sharing that I’ve been through residential treatment that I’ve been through intensive outpatient treatment, much the same as they’re doing.”

The staff will hold an open house at the facility on Wednesday and they plan to start seeing patients on April 1st. 

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