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Couple Talking With Treatment Provider
Quality Treatment Programs Include Family Members in the Process

How to Find Effective
Alcohol and Drug Treatment

By BuddyT

How can you determine if a rehab or treatment program offers the care required to be effective? What components must be present for the program to offer quality treatment?

The Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration has published a fact sheet, "Finding Quality Treatment for Substance Use Disorders" that provides guidelines for accessing drug and alcohol treatment programs.

Here are tips from the fact sheet:

Three Steps to Accessing Care

1. If you have insurance: Contact your insurer. Ask about your coverage and whether they have a network of preferred providers for you to use.

If you don't have insurance: Each state has funding to provide treatment for people without insurance coverage. Find where to call for information about payment for services here.

2. Review the websites of the providers and see if they have the five signs of quality treatment detailed below.

3. Call for an appointment. If they can't see you or your family member within 48 hours, find another provider. One indicator of quality is the ability to get an appointment quickly. Many programs offer walk-in services. Look for programs that can get you or a family member into treatment quickly.

Five Signs of Quality Treatment

You can use these questions to help decide about the quality of a treatment provider and the types of services offered. Quality programs should offer a full range of services accepted as effective in treatment and recovery from substance use disorders and should be matched to a person's needs.

1. Accreditation: Has the program been licensed or certified by the state? Is the program currently in good standing in the state? Are the staff qualified? Good quality programs will have a good inspection record and both the program and the staff should have received training in treatment of substance use and mental disorders and be licensed or registered in the state. Does the program conduct satisfaction surveys? Can they show you how people using their services have rated them?

2.Medication: Does the program offer FDA approved medication for recovery from alcohol and opioid use disorders? At this point in time, there are no FDA approved medications to help to prevent relapse from other problem substances.

3. Evidence-Based Practices: Does the program offer treatments that have been proven to be effective in treating substance use disorders including medication management therapies, such as motivational therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, drug and alcohol counseling, education about the risks of drug and alcohol use, and peer support? Does the program either provide or help to obtain medical care for physical health issues?

4. Families: Does the program include family members in the treatment process? Family members have an important role in understanding the impact of addiction on families and providing support.

5. Supports: Does the program provide ongoing treatment and supports beyond just treating the substance issues? For many people addiction is a chronic condition and requires ongoing medication and supports. Quality programs provide treatment for the long term which may include ongoing counseling or recovery coaching and support, and helps in meeting other basic needs like sober housing, employment supports, and continued family involvement.

Source: Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration. "Finding Quality Treatment for Substance Use Disorders" Fact Sheet. 8 Feb. 2018.

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