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How to I find the right program for a loved one? 

A: Choosing a drug or alcohol treatment center for yourself or for a loved one can feel overwhelming. Unfortunately, with the rise of the opioid epidemic, the addiction treatment field has seen an influx in deceptive marketing and unethical practices by drug rehab “providers” whose only concern appears to be monetary gain. This leaves many consumers confused and distrustful about where and how to find effective treatment options.

Today, more than ever, consumers need to know what to look for in a rehab center. As you research treatment centers and speak with rehab providers, here are important questions to ask and topics to cover.

Accreditation, Licensing and Certifications 

Reputable drug rehab centers are accredited by The Joint Commission or the  Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF®). Both the Joint Commission and CARF are independent, nonprofit organizations that base accreditation on industry performance standards and demonstrated results, quality, and value. State licensing is not the same as accreditation given the fact that states vary widely in their licensing requirements.

Staff Credentials and Licenses

Credentials and licensure indicate whether the individuals who provide drug rehab programming and services meet nationally recognized standards for professional practice. If clinical staff are not certified, they may not have the training and experience needed to provide the most-effective care. Specific credentials held by addiction treatment professionals may include LADC (Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor), LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor), CAC (Certified Addictions Counselor), CADAC, SUDCC, or CCDP (Certified Co-occurring Disorders Counselor). 

Multidisciplinary Treatment Team

The highest quality inpatient substance abuse treatment programs involve a multidisciplinary care team who, collectively, are equipped to address all aspects of the disease—mind, body and spirit. This means your rehab program should include a mix of professionals who work together to create an individualized treatment plan. All team members should be licensed to practice in their particular discipline. Be wary if one staff member wears several different hats. A multidisciplinary treatment team typically consists of:
Chemical dependency counselors
Medical doctor 

Use of Evidence-based Practices

The most effective treatment programs rely on evidence-based practices that have been proven through science-based research. Examples of evidence-based practices include Twelve-Step Facilitation, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Medication-assisted Therapies and other treatment models.  The medical staff of a facility should include both nurses and physicians who have expertise in easing the discomfort of alcohol or drug withdrawal and reducing drug cravings. Ongoing monitoring of your physical health is an important part of your recovery process. 

Treatment Success Rate/Outcomes

Too often, treatment outcomes are not measured by rehab providers—or they’re measured inconsistently. Even the definition of treatment “success” can be very different among providers. Be wary of rehab facilities who claim to have “the cure” or “100% success” rates. If rehab success rates are quoted, the data should be collected using research-based methods or be published in peer-reviewed journals. 


Treatment for substance abuse can be expensive, so look for rehab facilities that are in-network with your insurance. Being in-network also means the program has met the quality standards of the insurance companies. Some treatment providers will say they “work with your insurance” company, but that doesn’t mean they’re in-network. If in doubt, check with your insurance provider.

Specialized Programs

Quality treatment providers do not take a cookie-cutter approach to care. It’s important to find rehab programs where care is individualized and tailored, whether that means providing gender-specific programs, targeted treatment for teens, young adults or other specific populations, or other types of specialized rehab. Many issues discussed during rehab can be difficult to have when in mixed groups.

Rehab Program Length

The length of time spent in treatment is best determined by your progress rather than a specified number of days. Some substance abuse programs give an estimated time frame, but if progress isn’t made during that period, the length of time in treatment could be extended. Look for programs that provide multiple levels of rehab so that, as progress is made, you can step into a less-intense level of care. 

Post-treatment Recovery Support

Addiction treatment typically involves a high level of clinical care and support. When drug rehab ends and you’re on your own, it’s important to have a support system in place to help prevent the risk of relapse. Quality treatment centers offer a variety of post-treatment options including phone-based coaching, apps to build and strengthen recovery, continuing care groups and other resources and support.

Family Support

Addiction is often referred to as a family disease because it’s a condition that affects the entire family. Families need to heal and recover from addiction, too, by learning to work through the chaos they’ve experienced, set healthy boundaries and rebuild trust. Treatment patients tend to have better recovery rates when the whole family is educated about addiction and involved in the recovery process. 

Addiction treatment marks the beginning of a new way of living. The insights you gain and the changes you make during rehab will become the foundation for your recovery throughout the challenges life brings. Keep this in mind as you choose a treatment center. It will help you determine a good fit and identify the best treatment approach for build a solid foundation for lifelong recovery.