Drug Rehab FAQ


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How do you verify if a drug rehab is accredited?

To verify the accreditation of a drug rehab center, you can perform a Provider Search by visiting one of the accrediting agency’s websites. For your convenience, we have provided direct links to each of the agency’s Provider Search engines.

• Verify on CARF International
• Verify on The Joint Commission

Licensed vs. Accredited Drug Rehab

Per California’s Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) website, any 24-hour residential addiction treatment center that provides the following services must be licensed by the DHCS: medical detoxification, individual and group counseling sessions, educational sessions, treatment and recovery services for alcohol and drug abuse, and incidental medical services. This includes both publicly funded and private drug rehab centers. Licensure and certification requirements for drug rehabs vary by county and state, so it’s best to check your local government website for verification.

Accreditation standards are higher than licensure standards. All facilities must be licensed, but this doesn’t mean that every drug rehab is accredited. Licensure means the drug rehab has met the minimum requirements to operate a business, but accreditation means that the drug rehab is utilizing the best practices possible to provide optimum client care in addiction treatment. In some states, drug rehabs are required to attain accreditation in order to be licensed, especially if these programs are eligible for Medi-Cal/Medicare billing. When a private drug rehab attains accreditation, it means they are going above and beyond the call of duty, because though they are not required to procure accreditation, they do so in order to demonstrate their commitment to quality client care.

House Rules for Drug Rehab

Sober living homes, halfway houses and residential treatment facilities have house rules by which residents must abide.  Rules will vary from one facility to another, but in general they will follow similar guidelines.

1. Get up at 6 a.m. every day and make your bed

2. Begin with your personal hygiene routine (e.g., shower, brush/floss your teeth, get dressed, etc.)

3. Do not share personal items such as toothbrushes with other residents

4. Wear clean clothes every day and do your own laundry

5. Make your own healthy breakfast and follow a clean-up routine after each meal

6. Prepare your own lunch

7. Check in with the house manager if you are involved with evening meal planning and preparation.  Everyone is expected to help clean up after meals whether or not they are part of the meal preparation rotation

8. Always wash your own dishes after every meal or rinse them before placing them in the dishwasher.  If the dishwasher is full, inform the house manager and return the clean dishes to their original place

9. Perform chores as assigned by the house manager

10. Maintain tidiness throughout the day.  Do not leave personal belongings unattended in the house

11. Phone calls are not allowed within the first week.  After the first week, telephone access is limited but will be provided on a case-by-case basis.  A house manager or staff member must be present during all phone calls.  Personal cell phones, laptops and computers are also prohibited.

12. Residents must refrain from all alcohol and drug use or medication that is not prescribed by their doctor

13. Possession of drugs, alcohol or drug paraphernalia is strictly prohibited

14. Follow the itinerary as provided by your clinician.  The itinerary is a highly structured schedule of your day-to-day activities, and staff members ensure that the clients complete their structured regimen

15. Romantic relationships are restricted. Romance during the recovery program is generally frowned upon because it distracts clients from their recovery.  Couples who wish to enter addiction treatment together are generally admitted to different programs.

16. Any forms of misconduct, such as sexual activity, intimidation, violence, harassment or substance use, must be reported.

17. All residents are subject to random drug testing and screening

Violation of any house rules will result in suspension of privileges, such as personal free time away from the residential premises, family visits, reduced restrictions, and group outings (i.e., shopping, movies, trips to the amusement park, etc.)

Success Rates of Drug Rehab

Research has shown that those who enter and remain in addiction treatment cease drug use, decrease criminal activities, and improve their overall functioning in society, according to The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Individual treatment outcomes are subject to the patient’s characteristics, appropriateness of treatment and quality of relationship between the therapist and client. Because drug rehab programs vary widely in scope and practice, there is no standard metric for the measure of success. Some focus solely on detoxification while others provide a more comprehensive array of treatment services. A successful drug rehab program would embody the Principles of Effective Treatment as outlined by NIDA:

1. Addiction is recognized as a complex but treatable disease. The brain disease model of addiction explains why individuals are at risk for relapse due to permanent alteration of the brain’s structure from drug use.
2. There is no cookie-cutter approach to addiction treatment. Treatment plans should be individualized based on the patient’s characteristics and drug history. Tailoring treatment settings, interventions and services to the patient’s specific needs has a significant impact on the patient’s recovery.
3. Treatment must be readily available. Opportunities for rehabilitation could be lost if addiction treatment is not accessible and available when the patient needs it. The earlier the intervention, the greater the likelihood for success.
4. Treatment is not just about substance use disorders. A drug rehab center will increase success rates if it offers comprehensive services that address other problems that individuals may be facing, such as medical, psychological, legal, and vocational problems. Effective treatment should also be age-appropriate and gender-specific with cultural considerations.
5. Adequate time for addiction treatment is critical. Staying in treatment for at least three months shows promise for significant progress in treatment, according to research. Treatment should be flexible and readjusted according to the patient’s needs at any point during his or her recovery; strategies for relapse prevention should be implemented as needed.
6. Behavioral therapies are the most common forms of substance abuse treatment. Behavioral therapies are evidence-based interventions which include individual, family and group counseling among other modalities. They vary in their focus, but they mainly modify behavior by changing thought patterns related to problem-solving, conflict resolution, and interpersonal relationships. Group therapy and peer support programs help individuals maintain abstinence.
7. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is an important part of addiction treatment in conjunction with counseling and behavioral therapies. The use of medication to treat opioid use disorders and other substance use disorders medically stabilizes individuals and helps to reduce illicit drug use. Various medications are used to treat opioid use disorders, alcohol use disorders and other substance use disorders.
8. Continual assessment of an individual’s treatment plan is necessary. To best respond to a patient’s changing needs over time, the clinician should periodically review the patient’s treatment plan and adjust accordingly to optimize treatment outcomes. Changes in treatment may include change of medication or adjustment in the level of intensity.
9. Addiction often requires dual diagnosis treatment of co-occurring disorders. Many individuals suffering from a substance use disorder also suffer from a co-occurring mental health disorder. Drug rehab programs should address both the addiction and the mental health disorder concurrently, using medication-assisted treatment as needed.
10. Medical detoxification is only the first step in addiction treatment. Detoxification alone does neither constitutes substance abuse treatment nor is effective for long-term abstinence. Motivational techniques are often utilized to encourage patients to continue drug rehab once they are medically stabilized and substance-free.
11. Mandatory treatment can be just as effective as voluntary treatment. Court-mandated treatment and other sanctions can work in favor of treatment entry, retention rates and drug rehab success rates.
12. Monitoring drug use during treatment can deter relapses. Monitoring increases accountability and helps clinicians to determine whether a treatment plan needs to be adjusted.
13. Drug rehab programs should test patients for infectious diseases and provide targeted risk-reduction counseling. Risk-reduction counseling helps patients to reduce risky behaviors and manage their illnesses if they are infected. Drug rehab centers that provide on-site testing increases the chances that patients will be tested, according to research.

Is Drug Rehab alone enough?

Most people understand drug rehabilitation as simply the treatment of substance use disorders, but is that the comprehensive definition of drug rehab? The simple answer is “no.” Drug rehab consists of a spectrum of levels of care, ranging from detoxification to dual diagnosis treatment and continuing care.

Drug rehab centers vary widely in terms of funding, accreditation, and availability of treatment programs, and not all drug rehab centers are created equally. Therefore, some drug rehab centers you find may give you a short-term solution without giving you long-term resources and tools to live a successful life in recovery. Even if you do find a drug rehab program that embodies all the effective principles of addiction treatment that addresses the whole person, sustaining a successful life after drug rehab means surrounding yourself with the right social networks that will strengthen your sobriety instead of weakening your recovery.

Recovery after Drug Rehab

Recovery is “a process of change through which people improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential,” as defined by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Remission is the full restoration of health and social function after an individual overcomes severe and chronic substance use disorders; being in recovery entails voluntarily espousing the positive changes, values, skills and lessons learned from drug rehab in one’s commitment to sobriety. You can immerse yourself in the recovery community by living with others in recovery and participating in programs such as recovery support services (RSS) and engaging in recovery infrastructures that provide recreation apart from drugs and alcohol. Examples of such infrastructures include recovery-specific cafes, dating apps for individuals in recovery, your drug rehab’s alumni program, etc.

How long should you stay in recovery housing?

Your success in sustaining long-term recovery after drug rehab depends on your level of commitment and involvement in the recovery community, which entails 12-step group attendance and peer support within your recovery social networks. Generally, it is recommended that you stay as long as it takes for you to be deeply rooted in the recovery community. For most people, it would take about a year to be fully immersed in a substance-free lifestyle after treatment. Numerous studies have shown the positive correlation between social support and long-term sustained recovery; findings reveal that those who associate with higher numbers of abstainers and recovering alcoholics had better outcomes three years after treatment completion. Other factors that affect your length of stay may include the harmony of the living environment, availability of in-house services such as employment assistance, and financial costs. Since sober living homes are not funded by the government, residents have to pay out-of-pocket for recovery housing.

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