Is there a shortage of drug treatment centers?

Over the last few years, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of people who are abusing drugs in the US. Much of the blame for this increase should be directed at opiate substances like prescription painkillers, heroin, and fentanyl. In particular prescription painkiller use has been on the rise with the ever-dangerous fentanyl wreaking its havoc on unsuspecting drug users. While drug abuse has been on the rise, the demand for addiction treatment has also been on the rise.

That puts a lot of pressure on the addiction treatment community to make sure there are enough resources to go around. It also puts a lot of pressure on people who need treatment yet face the prospect of having difficulty finding rehab centers close to their homes. That’s not a problem someone wants to face when their life is in total disarray, and they have finally reached the point they want help. As recently as 2016, reports were out that indicated there was a shortage of rehab facilities in some areas of the country. Given the importance of this issue, it makes sense that we want to revisit this issue and give an update on the current state of rehabs in the US.

Is there a shortage of drug treatment centers?

Before attempting to address the titled question, there is a need to discuss the types of addiction treatment options that are being made to clients throughout the US. For the most part, there are two types of treatment programs: inpatient and outpatient. Inpatient programs are built around the concept clients will be restricted to the rehab facility 24/7 for as long as it takes to get them on the path towards a lasting recovery. Generally, inpatient treatment programs run 30 to 60 days unless a client has a severe addiction issue. As for outpatient treatment, clients are not required to live in the rehab facility but are required to spend a certain amount of time in the rehab facility while they get therapy. There are three primary types of outpatient programs:

  • Partial Hospitalization (5 to 7 days a week, 6 to 8 hours a day in treatment)
  • Intensive Outpatient (3 to 5 days a week, 4 to 6 hours a day in treatment)
  • Standard Outpatient (1 to 2 days a week, 1 to 2 hours a day in treatment)

Clients are given access to outpatient programs when they can’t or won’t agree to an inpatient treatment program. It’s also worth noting that some clients don’t require inpatient care because their addiction issues are still somewhat manageable. Now to address the titled question. Unfortunately, there is a shortage of inpatient drug/alcohol rehabs in many parts of the country. There is also a shortage of qualified therapists who are available to manage large client lists.

Most of the rehab shortages are located in rural areas where drug and alcohol addiction was seldom a big issue until recent years. If people in rural areas can’t find rehabs close to home, they are forced to migrate to metropolitan areas in search of rehab beds. With people flooding rehab facilities in metropolitan areas, it is causing a shortage of beds in metropolitan areas as well. Since the news on the opiate abuse front is not improving, the addiction treatment community is addressing these shortages from within. Here’s what they are doing in the short-term. Whenever possible, administrators are assigning clients to outpatient programs.

Doing so doesn’t address the shortage of therapists, but it is a way to make sure as many people as possible are getting some level of care. The other step administrators are taking is doing everything possible to shorten the amount of time clients need to spend in inpatient care. As soon as a client seems to be showing significant improvement, administrators will reassign them to some level of outpatient care. To be clear, rehab facilities like ours are not taking shortcuts.

They are still doing everything in their power to give each client the level of treatment they need. As an addiction sufferer, you need to focus on getting yourself in a position to start looking for help. You can’t let the possibility of bed shortages scare you off from seeking the care you need. Your job is to ask for help. Our job is to deliver the care you need. We want you to contact us at 833-762-3764. Working together, we will find a way to secure you placement in a treatment program as soon as possible.