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Questions About Substance Abuse Treatment Programs - Topic Overview

When visiting a treatment center to see whether the program offered there meets your and your family member's needs, ask the following questions.

About the staff

  • Are the counselors certified chemical dependency counselors (CDC)? Counselors who are certified have special training in counseling people with substance abuse.
  • Are any medical doctors associated with the program? If so, are they certified by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM)? Doctors who are certified have special training in dealing with people who have substance abuse problems.

About the program

  • What treatment therapies are used in the program? Is it a 12-step program alone or does the program contain cognitive therapy and/or medicine therapy?
  • How much time do you spend in the program a day, and how many weeks or months does the program last? Does the program have aftercare?
  • What has been the success rate for people going through the program? How has success been evaluated (number completing the program, years not drinking)?
  • Does the treatment program offer special services to meet women's needs, such as female therapists, female-only groups, or assistance with child care?
  • Does the treatment program address any special concerns that a person from a particular culture or religious background (such as Native Americans or Catholics) might have?

Other questions

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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