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NOPE Task Force – Narcotics Overdose Prevention & Education

Finding The Right Treatment

With so many resources available, finding the right treatment for your child or loved one can be overwhelming. Certified drug and alcohol counselors work with families to find the program best suited to a child's or loved ones needs. To find a good certified counselor you can consult your child's doctor, other parents whose children have been treated for drug abuse, the local hospital, a school social worker, the school district's substance abuse coordinator, or the county mental health society.

You can also call the U. S. Dept. of Health and Human Services Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (800) 662-HELP for referrals. Counselors will discuss treatment options such as individual or group out-patient programs, prescription medication, and residential programs. Counselors may also have information on whether a particular treatment center will accept third-party, partial or no payment for services. (Some residential centers reserve a number of government-financed beds for patients who are unable to afford treatment.) Counselors may also be able to suggest support groups that can steer families to sources of funding such as local church programs.

Find A Treatment Center

You may also access this information by calling 1-800-662-HELP (Spanish: 800-662-9832), the treatment referral telephone hotline maintained by SAMHSA.

Disclaimer: This database is maintained by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as a source of information for persons seeking treatment for themselves or for someone else. SAMHSA compiles the database from responses to its annual survey of treatment facilities. However, it does not make specific recommendations or endorsements regarding individual treatment facilities or types of treatment.

Questions to ask the treatment center

When it comes to our loved ones, whether it's treatment for cancer or treatment for addiction, we only want the best. Below is list of questions to help guide you with your search for a treatment facility.

1. Is the Treatment Facility licensed by the State to provide substance abuse treatment?

  • Agencies must be licensed.

2. Does the Treatment Facility accept your insurance?

  • Financial considerations are a reality. Many agencies have sliding scales. Agencies that are the most expensive do not necessarily offer the best services.

3. What philosophy of treatment do you use?

There is no superior philosophy. A philosophy of treatment that includes caring about individuals who have addictions and working with them during fluctuating motivation is critical. If clients feel comfortable in treatment, they stay in treatment. If they stay in treatment, they improve.

4. How long is treatment?

  • Research shows that treatment needs to be at least three months in length. When there are complicating factors such as another mental health disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety, etc.) or the lack of other external resources (i.e., unemployed, homeless, etc.), treatment may need to be longer.

5. Does the treatment facility offer access to both group and individual therapy?

  • Agencies should offer a variety of treatment, including psycho educational classes, group therapy, and individual therapy. If clients only receive group therapy it is difficult for the staff to truly evaluate their clients' progress in treatment, and almost impossible to address the personal issues that lead to urges, cravings or relapses.

6. Does the Treatment facility have someone who can provide medication management if necessary?

  • Simultaneously addressing health, mental health and addiction is the best practice. Sometimes there is a need for medication in addition to therapy. Agencies that employ or have access to prescribers can provide more comprehensive treatment.

7. How does the treatment facility handle relapses or continued use?

  • Residential treatment agencies should examine each situation on a case by case basis rather than implementing a global policy to immediately discharge someone who has relapsed. Addiction can be a relapsing disease.

8. Will the treatment facility work with the patient when they are not motivated?

  • It is normal for motivation to fluctuate during treatment. Agencies should believe in the importance of keeping clients engaged, including calling them when they have missed appointments and providing continued support during the more difficult times.

9. Will the treatment facility encourage your loved one to sign a release of information just so that you know they are showing up for treatment?

  • Therapy is a very private experience and it is unnecessary and often counterproductive for you to know what is being discussed in treatment. However, when your loved one is an adult who lives in your home, or you are paying for their treatment, having knowledge of their participation will help you set the appropriate limits, make the best decisions you can, and help you determine the best way for you to support your loved one.

10. Does the facility include treatment/education for family members of the patient?

  • Treatment should involve the participation of those who are closest to the individual struggling with addiction. Groups, classes, couples counselling or individual time spent educating loved ones about addiction and how they can respond in a supportive manner which is respectful of their own personal boundaries is important and should be available in treatment.

11. Does the treatment facility offer recovery services such as aftercare groups?

  • Recovery services are critical for sustaining abstinence.
  • Agencies may either offer their own services or encourage client participation in other services such as community support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.
  • Ideally, the agencies should develop an aftercare plan with their clients.
(Source: Kelly Lundberg, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Utah.)

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