10 Questions to Ask When Seeking a Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center

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If you google the terms “drug and alcohol treatment” or “addiction treatment” or “substance abuse treatment” you will get dozens of results. So, how is an individual in crisis supposed to know how to make an educated decision among the available options? After all, all the websites look so nice, all the services seem similar, what’s the difference?

The differences between drug and alcohol treatment centers can be huge. To a family or individual in crisis trying to make the best decision as quickly as possible, they might do less research on a drug and alcohol rehab program than they would on new tires for their car. Even though you are in crisis, slow down, breath and find the right treatment center not just the closet rehab or the one with the nicest website. You or your love one’s long term health is on the line and it is important you find the best drug and alcohol treatment center available.

Because individuals and families often don’t know where to start or which questions to ask, consider asking the following questions of any addiction treatment facility you are considering:


  1. Are you licensed?


Believe it or not drug and alcohol treatment centers are not required to be licensed in the state of Colorado. Although not required by law, obtaining licensure as a substance abuse treatment center ensures that the facility is providing a certain baseline quality of service to clients and doing so in a safe environment. Licensure also helps to ensure the privacy and confidentiality of patients. If the program you are considering is not licensed then they are accountable to no one. You might want to ask yourself why they are unwilling to take the steps necessary to obtain a license for the business they purport to operate.


  1. Are you accredited by the Joint Commission or CARF?


The Joint Commission is the most rigorous accreditation a health care organization can obtain. Obtaining the Joint Commission gold seal of approval is a symbol of excellence, quality and safety in providing health care services.


CARF is also a decent accreditation but is not nearly as rigorous as the Joint Commission.


If you are seeking treatment for drug or alcohol abuse, then you might find an excellent non-accredited addiction treatment center. But, if you seek treatment from a Joint Commission accredited facility, you are assured excellence, quality and safety in health care services.


  1. What national organizations do you belong to?


There are many national organizations addiction treatment centers can belong to. NorthStar Transitions belongs to the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers and subscribes to its code of ethics.


  1. How long have you been in business?


Many so-called substance abuse treatment centers have popped up in the Denver Metro Area over the past several years. Asking how long a treatment center has been in business will help you make an educated decision about the experience that rehab center has providing drug and alcohol treatment services.

  1. What are the credentials of your staff?


All staff providing treatment services should have a masters degree AND a license as professional counselor, social worker and/or an addictions counselor.


Make sure you ask if any “interns” are running group or any new masters level graduates working towards their license are providing group or individual therapy.


  1. How many clients share a room? How many clients share a house?


Many treatment centers run a quantity over quality model. Any more than two individuals per room or 6 individuals per home makes the treatment experience less comfortable than it should be. Everyone needs a bit of personal space.


  1. What is the average age of your clients?


Many treatment centers specialize in “professionals” “young adults” etc. make sure you will fit in when you get there.


  1. How does your organization provide individualized care?


Every drug and alcohol rehab center advertises individualized care. Few provide it. Ask specifically how the treatment center you are interested in provides individualized care.


  1. What insurance companies do you work with?


Let’s face it, addiction treatment can be expensive! Luckily, health insurance can help to offset or eliminate the cost. Most drug and alcohol treatment centers will be happy to verify your insurance benefits and let you know if your insurance will help to cover the cost of treatment.


  1. What will my out of pocket fee be for 30, 60 or 90 days of treatment?


Make sure you come to terms on the patient responsibility for the full term of treatment up front. You do not want to end up with a surprise bill at the end of treatment.