Operation Breakthrough, Columbia Treatment Center
Operation Breakthrough is a prevention and early intervention program for impaired driving offenders, college students, and others wanting to reduce the risk for alcohol and other drug problems.


Upcoming Sessions of the Operation Breakthrough “OB” Early Intervention Program

Operation Breakthrough is typically offered two weekends each month. Please call our front desk staff at 410-730-1333 for our upcoming Operation Breakthrough schedule.

The time schedule is as follows:

Friday :  6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Saturday :  8:00 am – 3:00 pm
Sunday :  8:00 am – 12:00 pm

Background of Operation Breakthrough

After years of listening to anecdotal feedback from clients who described traditional substance abuse programs as “uninteresting” and “ineffective,” the clinical team of Columbia Treatment Center decided to create an innovative, intensive, and focused program that would truly have an impact.

A comprehensive review of research (including interviews with experts at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Maryland State Police, and Wright State University) indicated that information-based efforts have minimal impact on alcohol consumption and related behaviors.  One of the most rigorous evaluations of early DUI programs concluded that while education produced increased knowledge about the effects of alcohol, it did not reduce the rates of drinking and driving or future alcohol-related arrests and crashes.

As a result of our research, we concluded that people change their behaviors only when they change their attitudes and beliefs around alcohol and substance use. We want our clients to become fully engaged in the educational process so that we could help trigger these changes.

Early Intervention Education and Treatment Programs

Assessing the health of one’s relationship with substances is complex. Some individuals are able to use alcohol and other substances in moderate, non-problem ways and others are not. Some are able to use substances in non-problem ways for long periods of their lives and then develop substance use disorders. Because this is not black and white, and because individuals are not always aware when their substance use has become a problem, it is critical to promote assessment, education, awareness, and support whenever there is a concern for high-risk use.

CAC - Operation BreakthroughAn early intervention program allows individuals who do not meet the criteria for a substance use disorder to better understand relationship between substance use, mood, and behavior. Simultaneously, these programs teach coping skills that will support participants in achieving and maintaining a low-risk relationship with substances.   At Columbia Treatment Center, our early intervention program will help participants better understand the reasons for their use, the impact of their use, and develop strategies and goals to support abstinence or non-problem use.

Our early intervention program is appropriate for anyone looking for information and education around substance use. It is ideal for helping impaired driving offenders, college students, and others wanting to reduce the risk of alcohol and drug problems in their lives.

At Columbia Treatment Center our program begins with an initial evaluation to determine whether Early Intervention Education is sufficient or if other treatment interventions may be appropriate. After this evaluation 12 hours of Early Intervention psycho-education is completed, either over six weekly sessions, or during a three-day weekend program. Our comprehensive curriculum includes moral recognition therapy, motivational interviewing, interactive discussions, peer teaching, and personal reflection. The program is certified by the Maryland State Department of Health And Mental Hygiene.

What Can I Expect?

Whether completed over six weeks or through the weekend intensive, participants will find the content of this program is presented in a non-judgemental and interesting way. Participants will have opportunities to learn through a combination of didactic lessons, guided self-assessment tools, hand-on coping techniques, and group interaction. If it becomes clear during the Early Intervention Education Program that additional treatment is required to support a participant in their substance use goals, our counselors will work with that client to supplement their program with either group treatment or individual counseling services.


The program is certified by the Maryland State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene as Level .05 Early Intervention.  The program has passed state inspection five times since 2005.  Certification is current. For details about our licenses and certifications, read more here.


  • Extremely positive feedback from participants: “Life Changing and Provoking”.
  • Thousands of clients served.
  • Accepted in Maryland Judiciary System, MVA, Virginia ASAP, and other states’ systems.
  • Internal evaluation and outside consultants consistently show positive results.
  • Superior customer service to referral resources.

Our Team

Four of our instructors have completed “Prime for Life Training” and our early intervention program is consistent with the evidence-informed methods of that training. Prime for Life was selected by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) for inclusion in the National Registry of evidence-based programs and practices. Our program is lead by five engaging licensed mental health professionals:

  • Eileen Dewey, LCSW-C, SAP
  • Litsa Williams, MA, LCSW-C
  • Jim Ritter, M.Div. (Former DDMP and DUI Court Officer)
  • Mandy Smith, LCPC

Operation Breakthrough (OB) is an intensive weekend program for those who are appropriate for an Early Intervention program. Operation Breakthrough is fully compliant with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) Code of Maryland Regulation

Note: DUI Education and Treatment are 2 different levels of care governed by separate COMAR regulations

Persons who have already been convicted of a DUI/DWI, AND have been court-ordered to complete a DUI/DWI program, are NOT able to attend a weekend program and would attend our six-week class instead (in accordance with COMAR

Operation Breakthrough has helped thousands of families across Maryland with superior customer service and training. To learn more about our early intervention program, contact us today at 866-607-8009.