Getting Addicts into Drug Addiction Treatment
It is estimated that roughly twenty-five million Americans over age of twelve need treatment for drug addiction or alcoholism. Sadly, fewer than 20% of those who need treatment actually receive it. As a society, we must focus on increasing the availability of effective treatment, especially in lower socio-economic classes. This involves increase the number of drug rehab programs covered under insurance policies, eliminating the stigma associated with drug addiction, and educating people about the value of treatment. When a health care professional suspects that a patient has become addicted to drugs, he must screen the patient for addiction, use brief intervention techniques, and refer out to treatment professionals when appropriate.
Loved ones often play a pivotal role in getting drug addicts into treatment and keeping them there. Many drug rehab facilities employ family therapy, as they realize that participation by a family member in the treatment process can help extend treatment and solidify recovery.
If you believe that someone you love is addicted to drugs, it is imperative that you find a drug rehab program that can meet your patient’s individual needs. There are many free resources available to family members who are investigating possible treatment options, including the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website. SAMHSA has a list of treatment programs (residential, outpatient and hospital) though out the country. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-TALK) can help with drug addiction or alcoholism issues and can provide referrals to nearby addiction treatment professionals. The National Alliance on Mental Illness is a non-profit, self-help support group for both patients and families who are going through the addiction treatment cycle.
Drug Addiction Treatment
Although getting a drug addict to accept the idea of drug rehab is important for recovery, keeping them to actually stay for a sufficient number of weeks may be the hardest part. Successful drug treatment usually requires that the patient stay in treatment long enough to experience the full benefits; as such, developing strategies for keeping patients in treatment are critical. Several factors will determine whether a patient is going to stay in rehab, including motivation to get clean, the degree of support received from family and friends, criminal issues (mandated treatment), or problems with child protective services, loved ones, or employers who are insisting on treatment. In addition, addition treatment personnel must create a positive therapeutic relationship with patients and make sure that the patient participates in creation of the treatment plan and follows that plan. Some issues, such as health problems or mental illness, will make it more likely for a patient to drop out of treatment; as such, therapists must be ready to intervene whenever these issues crop up in order to keep the patient in treatment.
Drug Addiction Treatment and the Workplace
Let’s face it, actively abusing drugs during work hours can get you fired. However, there are more subtle issues that affect employees who are addicted to drugs or alcohol; some of these issues can be effectively handled without having to terminate employment. Many employers offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), which provide short-term counseling and referrals to local drug addiction treatment and drug rehab facilities. Companies may also offer therapeutic work environments, whereby drug addicts that can prove sobriety can earn money, learn to live a drug-free lifestyle, as well as improve job skills, punctuality, and other skills required of good employees. These programs typically require participants to undergo periodic drug tests and workplace monitoring.
How the Criminal Justice System Promotes Drug Addiction Treatment
Studies have shown that drug addicted offenders who are given treatment during and after serving time in jail can significantly reduce their chances of relapse and criminal recidivism. Many states now offer drug treatment during incarceration, or provide access to community-based treatment after release. One group of prisoners in Delaware who continued drug treatment after being released from jail into a work-release program were 70 % less likely to relapse or re-offend than those who had not participated in the program.
Many offenders who are in the criminal justice system never get put in jail; instead, they are serving out their sentence via supervised probation. Probationers that are known drug addicts will typically be referred to drug addiction treatment as a condition of the probation. Studies show that people who enter treatment under pressure from the criminal justice system are just as successful in treatment as those who enter voluntarily.
Other ways the criminal justice system encourages drug treatment is by offering drug treatment as an alternative to incarceration for non-violent offenders. These cases are often handled by specialized “drug courts” that actively monitor treatment progress and punish those who relapse.
Some of the most effective models combine criminal justice with drug treatment, with personnel from both agencies working together to screen potential participants, place in appropriate programs, conduct periodic drug testing, monitor participation, and develop a system of sanctions and rewards based on particular behaviors.