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Residental Drug Treatment

For over 40 years, residential drug treatment has been a strong and viable weapon in the war on drugs. Residential centers, often called halfway houses, serve as a nurturing environment for recovering addicts and can provide powerful help in transitioning them from the drug environment to one that is safe, drug-free, and encourages continued forward progress toward a new life.

Addiction Recovery

Residential drug treatment works a bit differently than standard drug treatment programs. For one, the addict is not living either on the street or at home, but in a completely neutral environment freed from the temptations and stress factors found elsewhere. The drug cabinet full of prescription medications or the dealer down the block are both out of sight and hopefully out of mind. The recovering addict is surrounded by fellow voyagers toward health and a caring staff who can help head off any signs of relapse. Residential treatment is 24/7, a lifestyle dedicated to getting free of drugs.


It is also progressive. Newcomers are at much higher risk of relapse, having probably just completed drug detoxification somewhere else. The cravings may still be fairly intense, and the addict’s barriers against temptation fragile. Living with several other people who have been through the same experience and who are at different stages of recovery can be a tremendous deterrent to relapse. Both the staff and the fellow residents know all the signs, all the excuses, and are in general completely unsympathetic toward enabling a resident to give in.


As residents progress, they are given additional trust and responsibility within the residential center. They may become mentors to newer residents or group leaders in therapy sessions, boosting their own confidence and self-esteem. Trust is a powerful motivator toward setting an example and remaining clean, as is peer pressure exerted by a group of people whose experience is no better or worse than any other resident’s. Feeling sorry for yourself is just not an option, as it can be when surrounded by anxious, loving family at home.

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Life in a residential drug treatment center completely removes the individual from the old drug-driven lifestyle. Those who have forgotten, or perhaps never knew, what life was like outside the drug culture are able to experience and understand a lifestyle free of drugs. The constant help and support of their peers reinforces their own desire to not become a victim of the drug again, and the experience of “normal” living can be a quite powerful incentive to not look back. It also allows the individual to transition back into society, to relearn social skills lost to drugs, and to become ready to face the day-to-day pressures of work and family responsibilities.


Overall, graduates of residential drug treatment programs have a much lower rate of relapse, unemployment, depression, and criminal behavior than they had before entering the treatment center. Residential treatment for drug abuse can be a very effective alternative to inpatient care or living at home through the process of struggling to reassemble a life lost to drugs.



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