Alcohol and Drug Treatment Facts
Alcohol and drug treatment centers, like any other business, vary in quality and price. Before you chose a program for yourself or a loved one, there are a few things you should know.
Price Does Not Equal Quality
When it comes to choosing a center for drug and alcohol treatment, don’t confuse price with quality or expected outcomes. Unlike purchasing a home or a vehicle, the more expensive option is not always the best option. Pricing for drug and alcohol addiction treatment depends upon a lot of factors that have little to do with quality or effectiveness of the program. A big price might be due to:
- Celebrity, “expert” endorsements.
- Marketing expenses, especially pay per click advertising.
- Exclusive or exotic location.
- Corporate greed.
Add up the monthly cost of a nice hotel, good food for thirty days, four hours a day of group therapy six days a week, one hour a week with a therapist, one visit a month with a psychiatrist and notice the result. It’s probably a lot less than what some places charge for a month of drug and alcohol rehab. It that’s the case, then what are you paying extra for?
Bigger is Not Always Better
There is a common myth that the bigger the drug rehab facility, the better.
Consider this: If a facility has 50 beds that turn over every 30 days: how many people come through the front door in a month? Then consider the fact that people leave treatment early because:
- They didn’t want to be there in the first place.
- Insurance will only pay for X days (often less than 30).
- They relapse in treatment and get kicked out.
- The list goes on, but you get the idea…
When you add it all up, there are a lot of people coming through the front door of a large inpatient alcohol and drug treatment center. How effective can a therapist be with so many different clients in the course of a year?
Then consider challenge of hiring, training and retaining the labor required to operate a drug and alcohol treatment program. It’s a huge problem for the best executive director.
Who Are the Real Therapists?
While many drug and alcohol rehab centers use licensed therapists, some simply do not. Rather, they use behavioral health technicians to provide the actual therapy and the licensed therapist is there to simply sign the client’s therapy chart.
Look at the number of master’s level, licensed therapists on the facility’s website to see what their credentials are. If they aren’t licensed, they are probably just a tech.
Alarming still, some drug and alcohol treatment centers showcase celebrity or widely acclaimed specialists on their website to infer that their treatment program is superior due to the expert’s or celebrity’s participation. But once again – who is actually providing the therapy? It’s highly unlikely that the highly acclaimed “expert” is doing the therapy, or that that individual actually visits the facility more than once a year.
What is the Age of the Typical Client?
This may seem odd at first, but most of the clients in drug and alcohol treatment centers are under the age of 25. Most likely it’s about 90-95% of the milieu. If you are over the age of 30, you may have difficulty relating to an 18 or 19 year old who is in treatment as an alternative to being kicked out of the house, or going to jail. Ask before you commit.
These are only four things to consider when considering an alcohol and drug treatment program. Obviously there is much more, such as gender, licensure, time in business, overall team expertise, program curricula, family involvement and availability of staff to support the client and the client’s family.
Dr. Kenneth Chance, D.Div., is the CEO and President of Arrowhead Lodge, an alcohol and drug treatment center in Arizona. For more information visit www.arrowheadlodgerecovery.com. Or call 1-888-654-2800.
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