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What Kind of Drug Rehab Works?

A father says to his daughter, a heroin addict, “The only way a heroin addict gets off heroin is when they die.” And sure enough, she did. When discussing the several court-ordered rehab programs his daughter went to, he said “Upmteen times we’d drop her off with a garbage bag full of clothes and say ‘there you go.’ Then we’d go home and cry all day. We realized that rehabs didn’t work.” What do you think the addict’s chances are of success?

Thousands of people who get off drugs through addiction treatment know that drug rehab does work, but there are certain criteria that must be in place. For one thing, they need people around them who are positive and confident, who believe in them. Telling anyone they’re going to fail, that what they’re doing won’t work, etc. does not help them.

This poor girl’s parents also complained that the treatment programs she did only lasted three to nine months, saying that’s not enough time. In fact, it is. They wish she was provided more psychological and medical help. Instead, they say her treatment was mostly in the hands of recovering addicts.

While three months is not likely to be long enough, nine months is usually more than enough.

And when it comes to counselors, former addicts have a lot to offer. They know what the addict is going through, and can relate to them. Addicts have a tendency to try to pull the wool over your eye. With a former user, that’s pretty much impossible.

So why didn’t rehab work for this girl when it works for plenty of others?

According to a former deputy director of the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy and adviser to such groups as the World Health Organization, what’s wrong is that the treatment programs currently being used by the court system were developed 40 years ago, “when we didn’t know anything about the chronic nature of this disease.” He also said that “Until the public demands a better system, there won’t be more meaningful investment in building one.”

If there’s no meaningful investment in developing government drug rehab programs that work, where is the $ hundreds of millions of research money going every year? Last year, for example, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), spent $320 million on substance abuse.

How can you spend that much money and not come up with any answers? Obviously, they’re not asking the right questions. Some of the research projects are really ridiculous – like being able to identify whether or not a 10 year old is likely to become a substance abuser. Of course, they won’t reach any conclusions about that for many, many years – the wheels of research turn slowly. And when they do finally prove their point to the degree necessary to have it accepted, they’ll probably try to develop a vaccine to prevent it. Useless.

The key to successful drug rehab is no mystery.

  1. Get the person through withdrawal and detox so they are no longer high, and are no longer in pain or discomfort.
  2. Put them on a program of good nutrition – both food and supplements.
  3. Get their body healthy and detox’d from the drug residues in their system so the body itself is not craving whatever substance(s) they abuse.
  4. Get down to the bottom of what’s going on in their life that is driving them to drug or alcohol.
  5. Teach them the skills they need to make their way in life so they can have a purpose in life, be happy and have things under control.
  6. Evaluate their environment and the influences in it. Work out how the changes they need to make in that environment will be made. And make sure those are done.
  7. Ensure they have a encouraging support group / family / system to help them out. They need people who are positive and supportive. HINT: if there’s someone in their environment that tells them the only way a heroin addict can get off heroin is to die, you might want to ensure they’re surrounded by people with a more positive and supportive attitude.
  8. Make sure they have a plan for their life – immediate, short term, and longer term.
  9. Follow up with them regularly to help them make the changes they need to make in their environment and get their plans rolling.
  10. Realize that any stone left unturned could be their downfall. So don’t let anything brushed off. Deal with it, and deal with it thoroughly.


That’s what to expect from a good drug rehab program. It will take at least 3 months – probably more like 6 or 7.

If you’re looking for a good addiction help program for someone you care about – those are the things you need to ask questions about.

If you need help finding a good program, call us at 855-889-0555. We’ve researched hundreds of programs across the U.S. We know what works and what doesn’t.



Image Copyright: <a href=’’>iko / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

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