Alberta Detox, Drug and Alcohol Treatment

New Year New Hobbies: Substance-Free Activities to Try

Posted by on Jan 14, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Winter is well and truly here in western Canada. Snow is blanketing the towns and the days are getting longer, but still short. If you find it harder to maintain sobriety during winter now that there are fewer things to occupy your time, you are not alone. With these long dark evenings, many folks start to get ‘cabin fever’ from being confined to the house for months on end. So for this blog, we’ve highlighted three new hobbies to try out this winter, and maybe a few of them will even stick! Curling A classic Canadian past-time, in many towns, community life is centered around the rink. Curling is a great way to get out of the house and meet new people without being in a bar. Curling started as a way to alleviate the tedium of long winters so it only makes sense to put it on your list to try. No matter the size of the town almost all places in Canada have a curling rink and therefore a curling club. Joining a curling club means you are creating a new community for yourself, and making a commitment to show up for practices and tournaments. Being accountable to others can help you stay on top of the recovery commitments you’ve made to yourself. Crochet / Knitting Working with wool sounds like something for your grandma, but don’t let the stereotypes deter you. Crafting can be an affordable and satisfying hobby. Have a friend’s birthday coming up? Try knitting a basic scarf. It’s the easiest project to start with and it is the gift that truly keeps on giving. Your friend has a new scarf, you learned a new skill, your hands were busy, and your mind focused on your stitches. You also probably saved money on that gift by making it yourself! Yarn can be expensive at craft stores so head to a thrift store and you’ll be surprised at the large selection for a fraction of the cost. Hockey Like curling, hockey has become synonymous with Canada. Many kids grow up learning to skate and playing hockey. It may be one of your favourite sports to watch with friends at the bar or at someone’s house. This can be a tricky situation to get yourself into. You want to see your friends and watch something you love, however you don’t want to put yourself into a situation that is almost always full of beer. Joining an intramural hockey league can be a great way to combine your interests without the alcohol. References:http://www.curling.ca/foundation/2017/06/28/is-there-anything-more-canadian-than-curling/ https://www.quitterscircle.com/staying-smokefree/chew-on-this-the-need-to-engage-your-mouth-and-hands-after-quitting The post New Year New Hobbies: Substance-Free Activities to Try appeared first on Canada Drug...

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Drug Fact Sheet: Ecstasy

Posted by on Jan 11, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Welcome to the first of our monthly drug fact sheets! A lot of us know the names of common recreational and prescription drugs, but do you know where they originated from, how they are produced, or what their effects really are? Each month we will take a look at a new substance and cover a few facts you should probably know about them. To kick off the new year we will be starting with Ecstasy and “party drugs”. While any drug you take while partying could be called a party drug, party drugs are usually substances that lead to loss of inhibition, lost sense of time and judgment, and a dissociative state that allows party goers to rave for hours without realizing a need to rest or nourish themselves. Therapeutic Origins of Ecstasy Ecstasy goes by many names including MDMA and Molly. True to its name, Ecstasy affects the part of the brain that controls mood and can make users feel very loving and happy go lucky. The chemical compound was patented back in 1913 by Merck, but after that they never pursued marketing or even produced it. Dr. Alexander Shulgin has been credited as the father of modern Ecstasy and other party drugs after he started tinkering with hallucinogens in the 1970s. He first synthesized and tried Ecstasy in 1976 and while many blame him for it gaining such traction in the 1980s, he had always intended it to be used therapeutically. He sent samples to therapists to try with their patients and recorded their observations. However, just 10 years after he first experienced Ecstasy, the drug had made its way into so many nightclubs and there were so many bad reactions due to backyard chemists and dealers that the DEA put Ecstasy on its Schedule 1 list of dangerous drugs. Ecstasy, like a lot of other party drugs, may have started out rather innocuously but became potentially very dangerous due to the illegal drug trade. In the original rave days, Molly was supposed to be an even purer form of Ecstasy as it was exclusively MDMA (methylendioxymethamphetamine) the active ingredient in Ecstasy. However, today you can never be sure what your drugs are cut with, and many police seizures of pills show there is no MDMA at all in most pills being marketed as Ecstasy. In the late 2000s, only 13% of the Molly seized by the DEA in New York contained MDMA and even then it was still cut with other toxic chemicals. References: http://www.narconon.ca/drug-information/ecstasy-history.html http://www.latimes.com/local/obituaries/la-me-alexander-shulgin-20140605-story.html https://globalnews.ca/news/1603229/what-is-party-drug-molly/ http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/22/health/9-things-molly-drug/index.html http://www.healthcommunities.com/substance-abuse/drugs.shtml The post Drug Fact Sheet: Ecstasy appeared first on Canada Drug...

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Gaming Addiction now a WHO Designated Disorder

Posted by on Jan 9, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Gaming Addiction now a WHO Designated Disorder

The World Health Organization (WHO) has begun 2018 by adding “gaming disorder”, or gaming addiction, to its International Classification of Diseases (ICD). This comes after years of rumblings by health professionals noting addictive behaviours exhibited in some video gamers. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is the “bible” of psychiatric disorders. In 2013, the most recent edition of the DSM listed internet gaming disorder as a “condition for further study”. This shows how much traction this concept has gained over the last five years to now officially list it as a disorder. Gaming is a process addiction, like gambling and sex addiction. This means a person has an addiction to doing something rather than consuming something. A substance addiction is when consuming things like drugs and alcohol becomes a compulsion. The WHO report outlines many specifics that must be considered before a person can be diagnosed with gaming disorder. Their desire to play video games must overtake the need to do other important activities in their daily life. This kind of behaviour should also be observed for at least a year before a diagnosis is given. Emotional signs of video game addiction can look like isolation from friends and family so the person can spend more time gaming, and irritability when unable to play. These kinds of emotional signs are common across addiction types. Gaming disorder also has physical symptoms like carpal tunnel syndrome from overuse of controllers or keyboard and mouse, poor hygiene as they spend more time in the game, and headaches from the artificial screen light. It is hoped by gaming addiction being classified as a disorder, those who suffer can have better access to treatment options. Those with a gaming disorder must not be shamed or laughed off just because it is a new diagnosis. As a society, we have recognized some people’s predisposition for excessive gambling for centuries. Therefore, this process addiction is just a sign of our modern era and the new vices available to people. Even prior to the WHO’s announcement there were countries who had independently declared gaming addiction as a disorder. There are many private treatment facilities that are already operational and aim to treat this disorder. In countries that had not yet added this classification, the WHO declaration will make it easier for public funding to become available and provide avenues for proper medical treatment plans. References: https://www.sunshinecoasthealthcentre.ca/2015/06/process-addiction/ http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-42541404 https://www.psychguides.com/guides/video-game-addiction-symptoms-causes-and-effects/  The post Gaming Addiction now a WHO Designated Disorder appeared first on Canada Drug...

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Healthy Goal Setting for the New Year: Avoiding the Shame Game

Posted by on Jan 4, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

New Years can be a daunting time, and New Year’s resolutions have the potential to be both exciting and intimidating. Let’s go through some steps to improve one of the most common new year’s goals one so that it will inspire rather than depress you: 1. Make it Positive Rather than “I want to lose weight” try “I want to get healthy”. Being thin isn’t the pinnacle of success, and focusing too much on the external can diminish your internal self worth. Being healthy is a positive goal both for your body and mind, whereas wanting to lose weight for looks frames your body in a negative light. Probably not a great foot to start your healthy journey on, right? 2. Make it Intentional Rather than “I want to get healthy” try “I will be healthy”. Changing the tense sounds little, but can really make a difference in your mentality. Is this something you want to do? Or is this something you WILL do? Saying you will do it means you are prioritizing this achievement of this goal rather than just wishing it would happen. 3. Make it Specific Rather than “I will be healthy” try “In order to achieve my goal of a healthier life, I will eat at least 2 servings of veggies a day”. This gives you something actionable to work on (i.e. SMART goals). What does healthy mean to you? Sitting down and thinking about what your goal means to you and how you will be able to work towards it is very important for your success. Happy New Year! Drop your goals in the comments! If you need help with them, we can work on them there so others can learn as well. The post Healthy Goal Setting for the New Year: Avoiding the Shame Game appeared first on Canada Drug...

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What is a “dry drunk”?

Posted by on Jun 7, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

If you’ve at all researched anything addiction-related, you’ve probably seen the term “dry drunk” floating around in blogs, articles, forums, self-help books, and other literature. For those of you who don’t know the term, it is one frequently used in the addiction treatment and recovery field and refers to a person who is physically free of substances or alcohol (e.g. abstinent), but still exhibits behaviours connected with addiction and ways that support it. A sober person upholding old thoughts, beliefs, defenses, behaviours, and attitudes associated with addiction is a common example of someone who may have “dry drunk” traits. Depending on the modality, professionals have different ideas on the cause of “dry drunk”. Most commonly, it’s believed that such persons lack spirituality or belief in a higher power/faith. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is most popularly known for a similar description. The reasons a person still maintains addictive behaviours and attitudes while being void of actual substances will vary. Addiction and substance use is a very individual, unique condition. Thus, what motivates them will differ among everyone. Other therapies, see the “dry drunk” identity as someone who may be abstinent from drugs and alcohol, but continues to lack personal meaning and purpose or has unaddressed psychological and mental issues. As a result, these individuals may continue to display qualities such as a lack of interest, frustration from boredom, social issues, and continuing mental and emotional frustration. Depending on the program, therapy will try we focus the cause of addiction to prevent this “dry drunk” condition. AA, for example, focuses on a reconnection with spirituality, psychological program address mental health issues and personal struggles, and meaning therapy adheres to principles of meaningful living to help clients develop a sense of personal meaning that will help him or her excel and flourish in life. The post What is a “dry drunk”? appeared first on Canada Drug...

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Your Checklist When Looking for Addiction Treatment

Posted by on May 6, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Getting treatment for yourself or a loved one can be overwhelming. There are many options in Canada offering similar, but also very different, addiction services. The treatment you choose depends on a number of very important, personal factors. Here is some information useful for when you’re looking for residential treatment the first time or even the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th time. These five factors are important to keep in mind when researching treatment options. These elements together will allow you to determine the most suitable treatment options: Age Location Sex and Gender Budget availability Substance(s) being abused Age, Sex, & Location Most adult treatment facilities require clients be at least 18 years old. Youth under 18 are able to attend youth-specific treatment options. Some facilities are co-ed, but many are also gender-specific. Your home province may have some gender-specific treatment and recovery options, but potentially not many. Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta are home to the majority of Canadian treatment providers. Be open to travelling to another province for addiction treatment as you may find a facility that better suits your needs. Budget Your budget will be a crucial consideration for treatment. Private treatment is more expensive than charitable and public treatment, but sometimes easier to attend right away. All treatment facilities price their programs slightly differently, but most 30-day programs cost around $15,000. Charitable (non-profit) treatment options cost approximately $5000 for 30-day programs. These types of programs include recovery homes, church groups, and transitional living organizations. Government treatment in Canada is covered by our public health care and administered by provincial governments. For some government facilities, there is a small fee per day (around $40). Government treatment may sound more ideal because of its price tag, but wait lists and bed availability may cause you to change your mind. The substances or behaviours you wish to recover from will be important considerations in your budget, too. First, you need to make sure the treatment facility can attend to you. This is especially if you or your loved one requires treatment for two or more substances or is on methadone maintenance. Only a few programs have the resources for treating multiple addictions and supervising methadone tapering and they generally have higher fees. When arranging detox, make sure you access the appropriate type of detox. There are two types: Medical and Social. The type of detox you require will influence your budget as well. Know Your Needs… And Your Wants Another important consideration when selecting treatment are the services provided within the programs. Many individuals with addictions have additional health issues – physical, mental, psychological, past trauma – that need special care. Ensure the facilities you’re considering have the resources and services to support such issues. Left untreated, these problems can impede treatment completion and recovery. Other services like fitness, sports, pool, yoga, meditation, and working privileges are important to consider, too. Not all treatment providers offer extra services outside group and individual therapy. Some won’t even permit communication between clients and their families while in treatment. Important Note:It is common for facilities to embellish their program services to justify higher fees. If one treatment center’s prices go up, other facilities often increase their prices, too, in the belief that they offer the same services and programs. For example, many facilities say they treat mental...

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Treatment Centers Supporting Methadone Maintenance

Posted by on May 1, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Alberta Private Facilities Aventa Addiction Treatment for Women, Calgary. 403.245.9050 Simon House Recovery Center, Calgary. 403.247.2050 Government Facilities Bryce House & Logan House, Ponoka. 403.328.0955 Henwood Treatment Center, Edmonton. 780.422.9069 Lander Treatment Center, Claresholm. 403.625.5200 Northern Addictions Center, Grand Prairie. 780.538.5210 Southern Alcare Manor, Lethbridge. 403.328.0955 Charitable Facilities Recovery Acres Society, Edmonton. 780.471.2969 or 2996 Alpha House, Edmonton. 780.475.5957 British Columbia Private Facilities Cedars at Cobble Hill, Cobble Hill, Vancouver Island. 1.800.716.2006 Edgewood Addiction Treatment, Nanaimo. 250.751.0111 LDR Holistic Addiction Wellness Centre, Langley & White Rock. 1.877.529.3293 Orchard Recovery Center, Bowen Island. 1.866.233.2299 Pacifica Treatment Center, Vancouver. 1.866.446.0668 Round Lake Treatment Center, Round Lake (North of Vernon). 250.546.8848 Sage Health Center, Kelowna. 250.374.2399 Government Facilities Burnaby Center for Mental Health & Addiction, Burnaby. 604.453.1900 or 604.675.3950 Kinghaven Treatment Center, Abbotsford. 604.864.0039 or 1.877.864.0039 Peardonville House, Abbotsford. 604.856.3966 Charitable Facilities Raven’s Moon Resources, Abbotsford. 604.855.8322 Nova Scotia Charitable Facilities Crosbie House Society, New Minas. 902.681.0613 or 1.800.628.0613 Ontario Private Facilities Caverhill Manor, Stratford. 519.272.2424 or 1.877.272.2453 Homewood Addiction Services, Guelph. 519.824.1010 Newgate 180, Merrickville. 613.269.2672 or 1.888.524.8333 New Awakenings Wellness Center, Port Perry. 416.477.5553 or 1.855.693.6090 Government Facilities St. Denis Center, Cornwall. 613.933.0412 Camillus Center (The Oaks Drug and Rehabilitation Centre), Elliot Lake. 705.848.2652 Stonehenge Therapeutic Community, Guelph. 519.837.1470 ext: 226 for women and 227 for men Womenkind Addiction Services, Hamilton. 905.521.9591 Maison Renaissance, Hearst. 705.362.4289 or 1.800.766.0657 Mission Services of London: Quintin Warner House, London. 519.434.8041 North Bay General: Nipissing Detox and Substance Abuse Program, North Bay. 705.476.6240 ext: 221 Niagara Health System: Newport Center, Port Colborne. House of Sophrosyne, Windsor. 519.252.2711 or (Toll-Free) 1.877.533.9503 Saskatchewan Private Leipzig Serenity Retreat, Wilkie. 306.658.4767 Note:These listings are frequently updated. If you know of a facility supporting methadone maintenance not listed here or a listed facility that no longer offers methadone treatment, please contact the phone number below. For more information on these treatment facilities, on methadone maintenance, or other addiction-related inquiries, contact us. The post Treatment Centers Supporting Methadone Maintenance appeared first on Canada Drug...

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Methadone vs. Methadose

Posted by on Mar 30, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Methadone vs. Methadose

Abstinence-based programming is, by far, the most common approach for treating substance use disorders and addictions. While it is the most optimal outcome health-wise, chronic substance and alcohol use can have such sever effect on the brain that immediate abstinence is too difficult no matter the desire to stop. Drugs like opiates (e.g. heroin, morphine, fentanyl) have an intense influence on the release of dopamine in the brain. This alters the pleasure-reward systems so much that it begins to control the individual’s behaviours to ensure it is constantly activated (i.e. stimulated) and avoiding low levels of dopamine (withdrawals). For many people with this sort of experience, abstinence likely seems impossible. But living a normal life isn’t impossible.  Opiate substitutes like Methadone and Suboxone allow individuals with opiate addictions to pursue a stable existence and life. Unlike other opiates, Methadone takes longer to metabolize in the body. This means users don’t experience withdrawal symptoms as fast. With longer periods between withdrawals and knowing that you’re receiving a constant dose, individuals can redirect their time towards more personally meaningful and beneficial activities rather than finding ways (sometimes criminal) to finance their drug use. The Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT) program has operated in BC since the 1990’s. Earlier this year, Methadone had some drastic changes. Previously, patients would attend a pharmacy daily to receive methadone – a powder solution mixed with a sweet drink (often Tang) by a pharmacist. The new medication (being offered in BC since February 2014) has be renamed Methadose – a cherry-flavoured premixed solution. Chemically, it is the same as its predecessor, but now is 10 times stronger than 1 mg/ml of Methadone. Methadose was developed to reduce the likelihood of abuse such as injecting it versus ingesting it orally. Methadose congeals underneath the skin or in the veins and can cause abscesses and discoloured, swollen arms. This change is similar to the transition from Oxycontin to OxyNEO. This new dosing system is also intended to prevent/reduce black market sales. According to a long-term user in Vancouver, pharmacists would dilute (add less methadone) in the old solutions they’d give to patients, then sell the rest. He, himself, admitted to buying methadone illegally from the back door of a pharmacy. One of the biggest concerns with this changeover to Methadose is the increased risk of overdose. For people who abuse methadone and don’t know about BC’s transition to a more potent solution may ingest a drug that is way stronger than they are aware of. People who have been regularly receiving diluted Methadone may also have an increased risk of overdose when they begin taking Methadose. Another major complaint that has arisen since Methadose’s arrival is it’s short life time. Long-time MMT participants have reported they felt withdrawal symptoms much faster than when they were on the original solution. Unable to get more Methadose in their prescription or return back to the original solution, many have reported to using heroin and other illegally purchased substances as a supplement between their Methadose times. This is the exact opposite of what the MMT’s original intention was when implemented (we hope anyways). Currently, BC’s Minister of Health said the province was looking into the effectiveness of Methadose after hearing the many concerns of long-term stable participants. Have you experienced a similar situation with the new Methadone? What have you done to address its shorter...

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Gender-Specific Treatment

Posted by on Feb 10, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Early Research Included Mostly Male Participants When research and studies on addiction began taking place, much of the research focused on male addiction. Men tended to have more substance dependency issues than women; a 5:1 ratio. That ratio then dropped down to 2.5:1. Addiction research on men, in the past, was often used to generalize female substance dependency problems. As a result, advocacy for female-specific treatment became prevalent in the 1990s and thereafter. Women & Men Experience Addiction Differently Women and men tend to experience addiction and recovery differently. Outside of biological sex, socioeconomic factors associated with male and female genders greatly influence addiction treatment. Both men and women face stigma for their addictions; women are particularly susceptible. Developing Addiction Research has shown drug and alcohol dependency is similar among both men and women: changes in brain chemicals and processes. In one study, both men and women with addictions showed reduced serotonin activity. Reduced Serotonin affects judgment, self-control, and emotional regulation. The development of men and women’s addiction is different. Women’s addictions are often associated with violence, sexual abuse, risky sexual behaviour, and unwanted pregnancies. Women tend to cite health and family problems as the reason for entering treatment, while men cite employment and legal concerns. Accessing Treatment Differences become even more apparent when men and women try to access treatment. Women commonly experience issues related to the caregiver role. They often delay treatment because of previous treatment failures, feelings of guilt and shame, fear of losing custody, feelings of helplessness, and the belief that change isn’t possible. Males often delay or avoid treatment based on masculine stigmas asserting men aren’t permitted to be weak or in need of help. In Treatment Because early research focused primarily on males, only minor changes were made to addiction treatment to include females. Because men tend to seek substance abuse treatment more than women, male cultural norms often dominated mixed gender programs. In group settings, male and female issues may conflict with one another. Women focus on issues such as unhealthy relationships, violence, sexual abuse, eating disorders, impaired sexual functioning and orientation, parenting, childcare and custody, physical health, appearance, and hygiene. Men usually discuss problems like father/son relationships, anger and aggression, emotional isolation, spiritual disconnection, and sexual issues. Why Mixed Gender Programs Then? You may be wondering why mixed gender addiction treatment programs continue to be provided if they continually lack effectiveness. Because early addictions research grouped men and women together, it became a longtime belief that they could be treated together. Some facilities do not have the resources to support separate male and female programs. With a desire to help both demographics, many facilities opt for mixed gendered programming. Catering to both men and women also provide facilities with a larger clientele pool than if they were to focus on just one sex. The Benefits of Gender-Specific Addiction Treatment Gender-specific addiction treatment has many benefits. For one, the separation allows individuals to address any issues specific to each gender. Males and females readily share more personal information in groups with peers of the same gender. Bonding behaviours are more noticeable, too. In mixed group settings, men and women may forego expressing issues in the presence of the opposite sex. Issues left unaddressed potentially magnify feelings of guilt, shame, and failure, which affect treatment outcomes. Single gender programs eliminate sexual distractions...

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How Do I Choose The Best Treatment Facility

Posted by on Feb 9, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

How do I Choose the Best Treatment Facility? Some Canadian treatment centers take part in a rigorous process of surveying, feedback, and quality improvement in order to maintain an accredited healthcare status. Accreditations and licensing can get confusing when you’re looking for addiction treatment, so we will try to make it easier to understand through this blog. There is a full spectrum of treatment options in Canada. They range from large-scale residential facilities with multiple locations to small sober living residences. Often, it is almost impossible to tell what kind of quality you’ll be receiving just through an online search. Government licensing used to be an accurate indicator of quality service, but is no longer dependable with financial cuts to many sectors such as healthcare. WHAT IS ACCREDITATION? Accreditation is a way of creating universal standards among businesses and sectors. Accreditation agencies demand best practices and standards for consistent, quality healthcare. There are several types of accrediting agencies as well. There are agencies that focus on certain sectors (such as healthcare for treatment centers) and then several agencies within each sector. Accreditation provides a framework for constant improvement. The good thing about the accrediting process is that it prevents organizations from just cleaning up every three years during inspection. A facility will only be successful if it’s constantly working towards better practices. In other words, facilities can’t put on a pretty face when accreditation time comes around. Accredited treatment facilities, because of the rigorous surveying process, will generally have high standards in medication, medical and nursing care, infection control, and staff credentials. While a non-accredited facility may not have a quality improvement program in place, accredited facilities are required to ask for, implement, and document feedback. A large healthcare facility treating substance use disorders that isn’t accredited should raise red flags. Even with the benefits of accreditation, there are some drawbacks and limitations. We note them below: PRICE DIFFERENCE Because accreditation isn’t free, accredited facilities will usuallyneed to charge more than equivalent non-accredited organizations. While there is a direct cost increase related to the cost of performing site surveys every three years, much of the higher costs comes from ensuring certain quality standards such as rigorous documentation and qualified staff credentials (e.g. more schooling and experience means more pay). BIAS & NO AUTHORITY While accrediting agencies require certain standards be adhered to, they don’t have the authority to shut down facilities with bad practices. In other words, they aren’t a healthcare licensor. In addition, because accreditation agencies are paid by the facility (as opposed to an outside governing body), it is in their best interest to keep working with organizations until they satisfy standards. Because there are so many agencies, accreditation is a competitive field that people can expect to find biases in. PROGRAM MODALITIES Accreditation will ensure that necessary credentials, proper medical care, and infection control are all in place in treatment facilities. It won’t, however, reflect certain programming and counselling/therapy approach used by a facility. So, if you think a program is good (or the right fit) just because it’s accredited, that may not be true. Regardless of the 12 steps or evidence-based models, accreditation simply means the best healthcare practices are being adhered to (or at least worked towards). SIZE Large accredited facilities will often only...

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Where Addicts are Treated Like Human Beings