Social model Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) abuse treatment programs concentrate on providing psychosocial services. Social workers and other clinicians provide services such as individual and family counseling and coordination of care. Patients who need a physician’s care may be referred to a nearby emergency department, which is not a cost-effective source of detoxification services. Some programs that provide detoxification services have a physician on call who can prescribe detoxification medications.
Social model programs use a variety of approaches to detoxification, but the emphasis is most often on nonpharmacological management of withdrawal. Usually, counselors do not have prescribing privileges and cannot legally administer medications from stock bottles to patients. In some programs, counselors can assist patients in taking detoxification medications. The patient’s medication supply must be in a container that is labeled with the patient’s name and that includes instructions for taking the medication. Counselors observe the patient take the medication, and they maintain a log. Counselors can also monitor patients’ symptoms and call physicians or nurse practitioners if patients become ill.
Social model programs should not provide detoxification for people who have severe dependence on alcohol or other sedative-hypnotics, as withdrawal can be life threatening in these cases. Patients must be properly medically evaluated when they enter a social model program.