How to Research and Find the Most Effective Drug Rehab Programs

Achieving true sobriety goes beyond abstinence. It’s also about healing your soul, apologizing for damage you did to others, and seeking forgiveness.”

~ Lou Gramm, Juke Box Hero: My Five Decades in Rock ‘n’ Roll

They say that admitting that you have a problem with drugs or alcohol in need help are the biggest, hardest, and most important steps on your journey of recovery. But once you have done that – WHAT’S NEXT?

Even if you live in a major American city like Denver, how do you go about getting the help that you need? Sure, there are any number of addiction recovery programs and facilities, but how can you be sure that you are choosing the one that is best for YOU?

Here are some tips that will show you how to research Denver-area drug and alcohol rehabs so you can find the one that suits your needs and maximizes your chances at a successful, long-lasting recovery.

Tip #1 – Do They Offer the Services That You Need?

This is the most important consideration, because not all drug and alcohol rehab programs in Denver are created equal. Addiction is a disease that is highly specific to the individual, and so must the treatment must be individualized, also. The greater the level of integrated care, the better your chances of success.

  • Initial assessment
  • Detoxification
  • Specific programs for your level of addiction – Outpatient options, Intensive Outpatient Programs (5-Day IOP), Partial Hospitalization, Medically-Supervised Inpatient Rehab, Sober Living Homes, Long-Term Aftercare, etc.
  • Does the facility specialize in the treatment of addiction to your drug of choice?
  • Do they make any accommodations for you as a unique individual by offering service options for your demographic?
    • Gender-specific
    • LBGTQ+
    • Medical Professionals
    • Legal Professionals
    • Age-Specific
  • Does the program offer Medication-Assisted Therapy (MAT)?
  • What is their treatment philosophy – is the program based on the 12-Steps, Evidence-Based protocols, or holistic practices? FYI – the BEST programs will be evidence-based, but will incorporate elements of both the 12 Steps and holistic therapies – yoga, massage, mindfulness, etc.
  • Can they diagnose or treat a comorbid disorder such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD?
  • Can they accommodate you with any special medical or dietary needs?
  • Does the program also offer services to your family?
  • What sort of aftercare does the program provide?

Tip #2 – Check Their Accreditation and Memberships

Any Denver drug rehab program that you consider should be accredited by the state of Colorado, and along to other national organizations. Usually, you can find evidence of a particular program’s accreditation on their website. Look for:

  • The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) –Helps develop industry standards for effective treatment.
  • National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP) Provides leadership, training, and support to rehab facilities to ensure that they offer the highest-quality treatment services.
  • Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) – A national membership organization that works to keep American communities drug-free.

This research is extended to the employees of the particular program you’re considering. In Colorado, there are three levels of certification and one level of licensing. It’s important to know the different requirements for certification at each level:

  • Colorado Addiction Counselor I (CAC I)– Does not require a degree or examination, but does require 1000 hours of clinically-supervised work experience.
  • Colorado Addiction Counselor II (CAC II) –Does not require a degree, but does require passing a National Addiction Counselor exam and 2000 hours of clinically-supervised work experience.
  • Colorado Addiction Counselor III (CAC III) –Requires a Bachelor’s Degree in a Behavioral Science discipline, passing a National Addiction Counselor exam, and 2000 hours of clinically-supervised work experience.
  • Licensed Addiction Counselor –All the same requirements of the CAC III, plus a Master’s Degree or PhD and a Behavioral Science discipline.

Tip #3 – What are Some of the “Measurables” of the Program?

Any program should be able to give you an idea of the “success rates” they have achieved, in terms of abstinence at follow-up. Be skeptical of any program that promises to “cure” your addiction.

Inquire about the staff-to-patient ratio. You want to make sure that you are getting as much personal, one-on-one attention as possible. Make sure that you are getting the TRUE ratio of support – you want to know how many certified/licensed addiction professionals or medical personnel there are available, not including administrative or support employees.

Tip #4 –Does the Program Accept Your Insurance?

This may be the most important “practical” consideration, because for most people, the biggest barrier to seeking treatment is affordability. Proper insurance coverage can reduce or eliminate your out-of-pocket expense.

Because of the Affordable Health Care Act, you probably have insurance. If you do, they are required by law to provide coverage for drug and alcohol rehab services.

Tip #5 – Read the Reviews

Once you’ve gotten this far, find out what other people have to say. Read online reviews and any comments that have been left. Don’t focus on any one review – take them in as a whole. Programs can pick and choose testimonials to create an overly-positive impression, but as a group, consumers are more honest.

Tip #6 – Visit the Facility

Since you’re concentrating only on the Denver area, this should be relatively simple. Call and make an appointment to meet some of the staff and tour the facility. This is important, because your comfort level will go a long way in determining successful completion of your treatment program.

When you need drug or alcohol treatment in Denver, you have CHOICES before you. There is no need to settle. If you just do a little homework and a little legwork, you can find the program of recovery that will work best for you.  

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