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Nicotine Detox

Two issues regarding tobacco smoking merit consideration by staff detoxification programs.

The first is the program management’s desire to establish a smoke-free treatment environment to comply with workplace ordinances and to safeguard the health and comfort of patients from exposure to second-hand smoke.

The second issue is the patient’s dependence on nicotine as a drug of abuse.

Both issues are addressed in a theme issue of the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment titled “Toward a Broader View of Recovery: Integrating Nicotine Addiction and Chemical Dependency Treatments” (Volume 10, Number 2, March/April 1993).

Many programs have implemented smoke-free environments

Some programs treat nicotine as a drug of abuse and require that patients stop smoking as part of their chemical dependency treatment. A growing number of researchers feel that “the acquisition, spread, and even severity of various drug dependencies may be related to prior or current tobacco use patterns” (Henningfield et al., 1990).

Most programs provide education about nicotine and encourage patients to quit smoking. Some provide nicotine patches or other medication to manage physiological withdrawal symptoms.