What should I look for?

What should I look for in a drug addiction treatment program?


When you start looking for drug treatment, you may see advertisements for programs highlighting amenities and spa like conditions. While amenities like that are nice to have, they also will probably come with a big price tag. Focus on what is truly important; appropriate licensing, quality of care during the program and follow up, staff credentials and the persity of addiction treatment offerings. Things to check include:

Several national accreditation agencies evaluate detox and aftercare facilities, checking whether they offer effective elements of treatment and a well-documented patient complaint process. Many treatment centers are licensed by the State in which they are in. Ask the question - "What licenses do you have?" or "What accreditation does your facility have?" - you may also want to ask for how long have they been licensed.

Studies measuring the effectiveness of the program's treatment methods. Treatment effectiveness is a new field of study, but treatment centers should at least have some statistics on their success rates, preferably from an objective external agency. Progressive treatment centers regularly perform statistical studies on lengths of stays, admission trends and treatment components.

Aftercare - continuing care component - Type of aftercare program to prevent relapse. Intensive addiction treatment requires follow-up. Programs should offer a well-run aftercare program, with referrals to appropriate self-help groups. It’s important that a staff member collaborate with you to create a discharge plan before you leave the program.

Staff credentials - make sure that the inpiduals providing the treatment are credentialed drug and alcoholism counselors, licensed counselors and or social workers.

Comprehensive Programming - the best treatment programs are ones that not just the symptoms but take all of the various bio psychological and social variables into account before developing a treatment plan. Specialized treatment centers provide inpidualized treatment - which means that treatment plans are developed on a per case basis.

Family Programming - Check to see if the addiction treatment center offers family counseling. It is often a necessary component of a comprehensive treatment plan to involve the family to educate them and often begin the healing the process.