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The Types of Drug Treatment Programs in Massachusetts

Addiction treatment facilities in Massachusetts are not all the same, and each type of rehab has a different notion of what constitutes a quality and effective treatment. Every Massachusetts treatment center’s protocol will be based on its own principle philosophy. However, the categories are not mutually exclusive. A single philosophy will emphasize itself in each drug treatment center, and that is how they are categorized.

Massachusetts’ Treatment Alternatives describes the 6 most common types of addiction treatment centers:

Evidence based: These treatment facilities pin their treatment protocols on the science of addiction recovery. Treatment is based psychologically with adjunctive therapies, and treatment is based on scientific research, which is constantly changing depending on the latest research results. Abstinence from mind altering substances is their key to success.

Faith based: Faith based treatment focuses attention on the spiritual aspect of recovery. Most faith based treatment facilities in Massachusetts use 12-step programs in conjunction with religious and spiritual practices. The underlying belief is that God is the one who grants recovery. These are also abstinence based treatment programs.

12 step based: The 12-step program bases their therapies on a 12-step philosophy. Through group work, attendance at meetings, working with sponsors, and “working the steps”, individuals look at their addiction through a 12-step perspective. Many 12-step programs include other treatment modalities, but the foundation of the recovery program is still 12-step based. These programs are abstinence based as well.

Medicine based: These treatment centers look at addiction as a disease that needs to be medically managed, similarly to diabetes. The long term use of methadone or Suboxone is prescribed to manage the addiction. There are some medicines that deter drug use. These kinds of medicine based treatments are used to help prevent relapse. Medicine based programs use medicine to treat addiction, so they are not abstinence based programs.

Harm-reduction based: Harm-reduction based treatment centers believe that addicts are not capable of complete abstinence, or that they may not want to stop using entirely. These programs work on the philosophy that an addict is able to lessen the amount of substance they are taking, but not completely stop on their own. They teach “keep a lid on addiction” while allowing some substance use. Some harm reduction programs are found outside of treatment center. These programs often aim to teach the addict about the risks involved in drug addiction, like the sharing of needles, teaching them how to control their usage to avoid addiction.

Other: There are still some treatment facilities that do not fit into any of the above philosophies. These drug treatment programs offer “cures” without using evidence based treatment protocols. They generally have an anti-12-step and anti-religious belief. These centers suggest that they have worked out their own way of treating addiction unlike any other treatment program. The problem with these centers is that they do not have any proof that their substance abuse treatment program is successful.

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