What To Look For In A Drug Treatment Center & Program

Drug Treatment

Millions of people enter drug rehabilitation centers in the United States every year, but the treatment they receive can vary widely depending on the effectiveness of the institution they are treated in. The variety of treatments and methods can be overwhelming and confusing for those looking for a suitable drug treatment center for themselves or their loved one, so what exactly should you look for to help you choose the best drug treatment facility for your situation?

How To Begin Finding The Right Drug Treatment Center For You

The Drug Treatment Industry has a bewildering array of methods for treating addiction, some programs are exclusively for a particular gender, some cater to those of particular age groups, and there are even drug treatment centers that focus on particular religious groups or sexual orientations. Some provide comprehensive residential programs that last for as long as six months and that will allow a patient to stay at the facility and recover completely, while others focus on a quick detoxification and withdrawal method that is cheaper and faster but less effective, so it’s important to know what type of treatment would be ideally suited for you or your family member.

Important Points to Consider About a Treatment Center

From the outset there are three important aspects of the treatment center that you should research in order to establish how effective the treatment provided there is.

Accreditation of The Treatment Facility


Ensure that the treatment facility you are considering is accredited within the state that it’s operating in. Request the names of the health professionals working there and their qualifications. Once you know their area of expertise you can review their license details on the corresponding state licensing board website to ensure their license is current and has not been revoked.

Effectiveness of The Treatment Program

Always request information about the previous success rate of the treatment program you are considering from the admissions coordinator. Treatment centers should always record this information and the reputable facilities will be more than happy to share their previous success rate with you. If they seem hesitant to disclose the information you should view this as a major warning sign that they may be less than trustworthy. If you are able to verify their success rate with an independent third-party you should always try to do so. Local recovery support groups may be able to assist you with this.

Support And Care After a Treatment Program Has Been Completed

The less reputable Treatment Centers may not particularly care about their patients once a treatment program has been completed. With no support after rehabilitation a patient has a far greater chance of relapsing into their former lifestyle, meaning that they will eventually return to rehab again and again. Ensure that the treatment center you are considering offers some form of after-care service. This may include an after-care or discharge plan that provides referrals to support groups and other recovery groups in the community. Such a plan ensures that the patient is still receiving support when their treatment plan is completed.

If you are unsure where to begin in your search for an appropriate treatment center or what level of treatment would be best for you, it is advisable to speak with your doctor or therapist about it first. Check with your employer to see if they use the Employee Assistance Program and whether it covers addiction counselling costs. Contact mental health clinics, hospitals and community health centers in your area in order to find local treatment centers that may be appropriate for you. The Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) operate a help line that will also be able to assist you on 1-800-662-HELP.

How to Choose a Reputable Drug Treatment Center / Program

Drug TreatmentDrug rehabilitation treatments are expensive, and some facilities will encourage families to enrol their loved one by promising that they will accept health insurance to cover the cost, however if the insurance company later decides to stop paying for the treatment many facilities will immediately discharge the patient unless their family can produce enough money to cover the cost. It’s a common situation that occurs far more often than people think, so be sure you know the facilities policy on insurance payments and alternative payments before you send your family member there.

Drug treatment centers often employ admissions coordinators or counsellors to provide information to potential patients or their families, however they will often work on a commission basis, so be aware they may use deceptive tactics and high-pressure sales strategies in order to earn their commission. Always establish if they are paid on commission first and if they are double-check any information they give you with a third-hand independent source whenever possbile before you act on it.

Speak to members of local recovery support groups to see if any of them have any experience of the facility, particularly any negative experiences they have had there, you can also look at Google and Facebook reviews for the facility to see how former patients found the effectiveness of the treatment. Obviously not all drug treatment centers are disreputable, but as with any other competitive industry there are some that are more reliable and truthful than others, so always verify any information they give you before admitting your family member for a course of treatment there.

How can I Guarantee that a Drug Treatment Program Will Be Successful?

Any drug treatment program or center that guarantees recovery from addiction is almost certainly employing dishonest tactics to increase their business. There are no guarantees with drug treatments and although rehab may be successful for many patients, at least 10% of patients in treatment programs at any one time have been treated in rehabilitation programs before, often five or more times. Always ensure you ask a treatment center for information on their previous success rate and what their criteria is for considering a treatment to have been successful.

Considering What Type of Treatment You Are Looking For

To choose the most appropriate care for you or your family member it is best to consider the type of treatment that a facility offers, and whether it is the level of care that will be most appropriate for your personal situation. A few important aspects to consider are as follows.

What would be the perfect result after treatment?

Treatment programs vary widely in method and focus, but they also measure success in different ways. Some programs will consider a patient that completes a twenty-eight day program a ‘success’, while others will only consider a successful treatment as one where the patient remains free from addiction for a certain period after the treatment program is completed. Other programs will consider even more factors in order to count a treatment as successful, such as the patient gaining / keeping a good employment record, improved relations with family and support groups, and positive changes in their lifestyle. Consider what type of recovery you would like to see from a treatment program and find a program that matches those eventual aims.

How Does The Treatment Center View Relapse After Treatment?

Some drug treatment programs will consider a relapse after treatment as expected and unable to be completely avoided, while others offer a more thorough and effective course of treatment that aims to avoid relapse in the future. Twenty-eight day treatment programs are the most common form of drug treatment available and they may not give a patient enough time to remain free from addiction once the program is completed. Longer term programs, particularly residential ones will be likely to offer a more comprehensive treatment that will enable a patient to gain not only freedom from the physical addiction, but also give them the mental skills required to help them remain drug free after the program is completed.

Drug TreatmentRegardless of how positive a patient feels after they have completed a treatment program, once they have completed it they will have to combat situations where the temptation to fall back into their old habits will be hard to resist. Longer term programs will attempt to give the patient tools to avoid the same thought processes that led them to become addicted in the first place. For those with heavier, longer-lasting addictions a short-term program lasting barely a month may well not be long enough for them to fully recover from the addiction, so consider what level of treatment you or your loved one may require in order to leave them able to live a better, happier addiction free life after treatment.

Does The Treatment Center Use Substitute Drugs to Fight The Patients Addiction?

Many drug treatment programs offer subscription drugs in treatments known as harm reduction programs. This method, used extensively for those addicted to opiate based drugs such as heroin and some prescription painkillers aims not to remove an addiction, but to lessen the physical harm to a patient by transferring the addiction to a less dangerous drug. Establish if a drug treatment program uses this method if complete freedom from addiction is your aim. Other pharmaceutical treatments may rely on drugs such as Xanax or Valium in order to ease withdrawal symptoms in a patient, but be aware that these substitutes are also addictive, often after just a few weeks of using them. They may also have side-effects and other negative health effects, and may not be the ideal treatment course for you or your loved one.

Does The Treatment Program Have a Nutritional Element?

Some programs take a safer route by encouraging greater nutritional intake and changes in a patients diet and exercise regime in order for them to improve their physical health and counter withdrawal symptoms. Patients beginning a drug treatment program are often in a poor state of health due to their addictions and may be suffering from malnutrition, depression, insomnia and lethargy. A program that includes a nutritional element to improve the patients health as they recover from their addiction may be the best course for them to reduce cravings, and although it is less likely to eliminate cravings initially and may not be suitable for more severe addictions, it is a far safer course of treatment that is more likely to leave a patient free to concentrate on learning the mental skills required to lead a drug free life, after their treatment program is completed.

Consider The Treatment Carefully Before Making a Final Decision

Drug TreatmentChoosing the right Drug Treatment Center for you or your loved one can be a difficult decision that is usually made under stressful circumstances. Consider all the aspects of the treatment carefully to decide if it is the best courser of treatment that is most likely to leave the patient drug-free with a happier, healthier life in the future. Consider every element of the treatment and consult with your doctor if you are unsure what negative effects there may be that you are not aware of. Finally, beware of ‘instant cures’ and quick courses that promise results through experimental methods such as hallucinogenic drug treatments, aversion therapy treatments and electric shock treatments. Although these cures can be successful in a small percentage of cases, they are certainly not suitable for everyone and the only way to be sure that the patient receives thorough and comprehensive care is to ensure that they embark on a course of treatment that considers all of the factors, both mental and physical that led them to becoming addicted in the first place.

Support After Treatments

As with all recovery programs, a good support structure for both the patient and their family is vital for ensuring the best chance for a drug-free future for them. Ensure that they have access to mutual support groups so that they are able to speak to other recovering addicts, and are able to discuss their situation with others that know exactly what problems they face on a daily basis. Encourage them to speak about their feelings after treatment and motivate them to feel positive about their new happier and healthier lifestyle.