Drug Treatment Programs Explained

Written by Chloe Nicosia

The Basics of How a Legitimate Drug Treatment Program Works

When someone has a drug problem, you’ll usually hear it said at some point that they “need treatment.” If you’ve never had any experience with the world of addiction and recovery, however, it can be confusing as to what that specifically means. There are many different types of drug treatment programs, and unfortunately not all of them are equally effective or equally appropriate for every situation.

Sadly, some programs that call themselves “drug treatment” are actually outright scams that focus solely on bilking health insurance companies for as much as they can while not providing proper care to patients. There have even been deaths due to overdose in such programs as staff turned a blind eye to patients continuing to use drugs on premises.

So how do you know what a proper and legitimate drug treatment program consists of? You might be looking into your local treatment centers and asking, “Is this expensive inpatient drug rehab near me a scam or legitimate?” This post will teach you how to identify drug rehab facilities that are trustworthy.

Licensing and Accreditation

The first thing to look for in a reputable drug treatment program is proper licensing and oversight. Depending on where they are located, the state may require different levels of licensing. Many of the best treatment centers voluntarily seek accreditation with a major third-party inspection agency to assure patients that they are a safe and effective choice. The two big names among these agencies are JCAHO (also sometimes called the Joint Commissions) and the Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). These agencies periodically inspect facilities to ensure they meet appropriate standards of care.

Medical Detox

Medical detox is often the first step in a recovery effort, especially for those who are using highly addictive drugs (like meth and heroin) or those who have been abusing substances for an extended period of time. Detox is a period spent in a medical facility under supervision by qualified staff. This time is used to ensure all of the illicit substances are out of the person’s system and to help them deal with their withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

Not all treatment centers offer a medical detox component. If they don’t have their own in-house detox, however, they will usually require the patient to complete it elsewhere before they can engage with their program. A big red flag is a so-called “sober house” that lets anyone walk in without any knowledge of their most recent use of substances.

Ongoing Inpatient / Outpatient Treatment

After completing detox, patients will be through the roughest of their symptoms, but they are not out of the woods yet. They will still be dealing with some level of cravings and withdrawal, along with negative emotions and thoughts that can push them back into patterns of substance abuse.

Ongoing supportive treatment during this period is critical. To generalize, there is less of a focus on medical intervention at this point, and more of a focus on teaching relevant life skills and providing the patient with the counseling and support they need.

This period can take anywhere from weeks to months depending on the severity of the addiction. Many patients also feel some need for structured support and group discussion throughout the rest of their lives, even after symptoms and cravings have subsided.

How Do I Find A Good Inpatient Drug Rehab Near Me?

Look for drug treatment programs that meet their state licensing requirement, that hold an accreditation from a well-regarded agency that operates nationally like JCAHO or CARF, and that enjoy a good reputation among former patients. The right drug rehab facilities make a huge difference in getting recovery to stick for life.