Sunday, September 26, 2021


How to Find the Right Detox Center in California.

November 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Health, Weekly Columns

(Akiit.com) Florida is traditionally the “retirement capital of America,” but these days it gets as much attention for being the “recovery capital.” The 2016 National Directory of Drug and Alcohol Abuse Treatment Facilities (published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) lists over 500 options in that state, which is fine if you live convenient to Florida, but not so great when you’re 2,300 miles away in California. Making the decision to start a detox, then sticking it out to long-term sobriety, is tough enough without adding in long-distance travel.

Good news: there are plenty of options closer to home. California actually has as many detox treatment centers per person as Florida—more than 1,000 total. That includes over 120 opiate detox centers and around 200 centers that provide alcohol detox.

Among the advantages of choosing a detox clinic in your own area:

  • You save the expense and inconvenience of traveling long distances.
  • By remaining in the same state, you bump against fewer differences in drug-crime or health insurance laws.
  • If your family is closely involved (always advisable), they’ll have an easier time keeping up with your progress.
  • After you finish detox treatment, you’ll be able to keep in closer touch with the providers and advisors who helped you through.
  • If you opt for outpatient treatment during the post-detox phase, you’ll be able to return sooner to your permanent residence and job.

(Although if staying close to home is a top priority, keep in mind that the distance from the northernmost to the southernmost border of California is still over 750 miles; search your immediate metropolitan area first!)

Other considerations for choosing a treatment facility:

1. Are they well-established, professional and medically qualified?

Recent publicity surrounding unscrupulous opiate detox centers in South Florida has raised nationwide concerns about being exploited by places that pocket insurance payments and provide little treatment. Fortunately these are the exception, but beware of any place that contacts you, and of any situation where someone who “should know” seems too eager for you to choose a specific detox center (they may be getting a referral kickback). In California, legal oversight of detox treatment centers is limited—almost anyone with any form of medical or counseling experience can open a “clinic”—so you’ll need to do some research before committing yourself. If you possibly can, make advance in-person visits to any place you’re considering.

Key points in evaluating a detox center:

How long has it been in business? How long has it been at its present location? Is it part of a larger and reputable behavioral-health organization or general medical center?

How do the detox center’s immediate neighbors feel about it? A little community unease is normal when a social-services residence first moves in, but it’s a red flag if most of the neighborhood is still afraid or hostile two years later.

Does the staff include service providers with well-established MD and RN experience?

Have any complaints or lawsuits being filed against staff members, or against the center itself?

Is it possible to contact former clients who were satisfied with their detox experience and have stayed sober?

2. Does the center have an emergency plan in case of fire or natural disaster?

It’s commonly forgotten when the news has been free of major catastrophes for a while, but no building, neighborhood or community is 100% safe. Florida has hurricanes, California has earthquakes, and every place has the risk of fire, gas leaks, major power outages or acts of terrorism. Being prepared is especially vital for drug detox centers and other residential treatment facilities which may have to evacuate twenty or more clients, many of whom are physically ill or unprepared to cope with stress.

Are all detox-center buildings structured to resist damage from the most likely natural disasters (in California, that usually means earthquakes and wildfires)? Are emergency generators in place for power outages?

Are fire drills conducted regularly?

Are there strict security measures regarding who can obtain access to the premises?

Are sufficient food, water, and medical supplies kept onsite to ensure everyone will be provided for if the local infrastructure is temporarily disrupted?

If it becomes necessary to evacuate the building or the neighborhood, how will the center provide for clients with limited mobility? How will they keep track of those requiring supervision?

3. Will the center provide for your individual needs?

If you eat a special diet or want spiritual guidance specific to a particular tradition, or if you have allergies or physical or mental disabilities, will the center be able to accommodate you?

4. Will there be any possible problems with traveling to the center—or with traveling back regularly if you need outpatient care after initial detox?

Even if your chosen detox center is a relatively short distance from your home, you’ll have schedules to coordinate and things to transport. Many people with substance abuse disorders have lost their driver’s licenses or their financial ability to maintain private cars; if that applies to you, and you don’t have a family member or friend to drive you, there’ll be special travel considerations to deal with. The major urban areas in California have public transportation services within and between cities, but not all the smaller towns do. See if the detox center (or your health insurance company) can offer help with arranging or paying for transportation. If you’ll be arriving from another town and getting off at a terminal, see if the center provides shuttle services—or if you can save money by using “disability” shuttles from a local public transportation system.

And, though chances are you won’t be bringing too many possessions with you, remember you can always carry more in a private car than by public transport. The clinic should be able to provide a list of things to bring (or not bring) and of what it will provide onsite.

5. What does your insurance cover? If your financial resources are limited, can the detox center help you work out a payment plan?

You don’t want to jeopardize your long-term sobriety with the stress of new financial worries. Check first with the centers that are listed as preferred providers on your insurance plan. And if you find a center with which you “click,” but which still seems unaffordable after thorough consideration, ask if they can recommend a less expensive center with a similar treatment approach.

6. What sort of “feeling” do you get during contacts with the center?

Even if you can find no logical reason to say “no” to a detox center, “bad vibes” prove accurate often enough to make ignoring them not worth the risk. If you have serious doubts about trusting your own instincts, bring in a trusted friend or relative for a second opinion. Successful detox is too important, in California or anywhere else, to not do everything possible to find the right center for you!

Inland Detox aims to offer the best inpatient treatment in southern California. For more information, call (888) 739-8296.

Staff Writer; Terry Parker


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