What are Harm Reduction Strategies for Drug Abuse?

husband is convincing his wife to get to treatment center

What are Harm Reduction Strategies for Drug Abuse?

husband is convincing his wife to get to treatment centerIf you or a loved one is abusing drugs, you’re not alone. Today, an estimated 24 million Americans have a drug-related substance use disorder. Worse, a 106,000 Americans died in 2021 as a result of drug abuse and drug overdose. Those statistics show that traditional approaches to drug abuse like tough love and cutting people off simply do not work. Instead, they put people in danger, increase substance abuse, and push people into situations where they cannot get out.

Harm reduction strategies for drug abuse take the approach of treating the person as more important than the drug abuse. It means stepping back and accepting that someone is sick and is unable to make good decisions for themselves. And, it means taking steps to reduce the harm of substance abuse as much as possible, so you and your loved ones can be safe.

What Are Harm Reduction Strategies?

The primary goal of a harm reduction strategy for drug abuse is to accept that you can’t get someone to stop using, therefore you want them to use in as safe a manner as possible. This includes an approach for safer use, managed use, meeting people using substances “where they are at” and working to improve the conditions of substance abuse.

This is important because often the conditions of drug abuse are as dangerous as drug use itself. For example:

  • People cannot get high or use at home so they do so in public, which puts them at risk of injury, assault, and sexual assault.
  • People cannot access clean or safe needles and so share needles and put themselves and others at risk of transmitting STDs and infections.
  • People don’t have access to safe resources so find themselves using unsafe substances to get high. For example, cooking heroin for injection with water from a mud puddle. Or using unsafe drugs.
  • People don’t have the ability to easily tell if their drugs are safe or if they’ve been cut with a potentially harmful substance. This means they put themselves at risk of overdose every time they get high but often don’t have the self-control to not get high.
  • People struggle with substance use disorders and so cannot simply “quit” and when pushed into going cold turkey, often relapse and increase their risk of overdose because their tolerance has dropped.
  • People don’t have access to information about how to safely use drugs and so can significantly harm themselves while trying to self-inject, to use pipes, or to get high.

All of this means that people using are in danger from significantly more than “just” drug abuse. Harm reduction strategies work to reduce the harm implicit in drug abuse and in those factors surrounding drug abuse. That gives you or your loved on the chance to get better by ensuring that you can have as safe and as trauma-free of an experience as possible.

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Harm Reduction Strategies You Can Adopt

an addiction treatment expert offers helping hand to a woman struggling with substance abuseHarm reducing strategies mean taking steps to reduce the harm inherent in substance abuse. Some common steps include:

Acceptance – Illicit drug use is going to happen. Drug use is a complex phenomenon, and it can stem from a lot of factors like trauma, stress, genetic vulnerabilities, or simply a desire to use and get high. If someone is using and doesn’t want to get better, it’s important to accept that they are using and they are going to use. No amount of being upset, angry, or attempting intervention is likely to change that until they are ready to quit. This means accepting that drug use isn’t going away. Instead, you do care about that person, and you want them to use in as safe and as healthy a way as possible. That also means understanding that qualify of life, continuity of life, and individual happiness are more important than “quitting” drug use.

Providing Help – People who are struggling with substance abuse often need help to use safely. That means taking steps to ensure they have the means to do so. Often, it also means deliberately going out of your way to provide safe access to drugs, drug use, and preventive care. For many people, this step can feel like “Enabling” but as part of harm reduction, you’re accepting that drug use will happen and are taking the steps to make it as safe as possible. That can look like:

  • Keeping Narcan or Naloxone (at least 3 doses) on your person at all times.
  • Designating a room of your home for someone to use safely
  • Finding local supervised injection/consumption sites and driving your loved one there when they want to use
  • Ensuring access to safe and clean syringes
  • Finding safe-drug use information relevant to the drug(s) you or your loved one are using and following those
  • Finding drug test centers and paying for drug tests. Or, getting drug safety test kits like DanceSafe or equivalent kits
  • Focusing on safe usage with emphasis on sourcing quality drugs and using in a safe manner over not using at all
  • Intervening for safety reasons or not at all

Education – Harm reduction strategies always include education and learning, which may mean helping you or your loved one learn to cope with the real problems behind substance abuse. It can also mean working on strategies to improve quality of life, improve mental health, and improve other things that may contribute to drug abuse. In addition, it means learning how drug abuse and use disorders actually work, how they impact everyone involved, and how to cope with them in a healthy manner. Harm reduction strategies never work to minimize or ignore that illicit drug use can be extremely harmful, it just means accepting that it happens and you can’t prevent it happening, so you want it to happen in as safe of a way as possible.

For many people, taking harm reduction approaches to drug abuse means a considerable shift in mindset. For example, many of us are raised to see substance abuse as a personal failing or as someone choosing to do wrong. Learning how to use safely, how to reduce harm when using, and how to provide safe spaces to use means accepting that use will happen, meeting the user where they are, and taking a core step of saying “you and your health are more important than the fact that you use drugs”. You may have to overcome a lot of biases to actually reach that step. However, it will ensure that your loved one can move through addiction as safely as possible, so they have the chance to recover and to heal.

If you or your loved-one struggles from alcoholism or other substance abuse please contact us today and speak with one of our experienced and professional intake advisors about our alcohol rehabdetox, partial hospitalization, and residential treatment programs. 10 Acre Ranch also has specialty tracks like our pet friendly drug rehab and couples substance abuse treatment programs. We’re here to help you recover.

Who is Best Suited for Residential Addiction Treatment?

people outdoor in recovery sitting on the grass

Who is Best Suited for Residential Addiction Treatment?

people outdoor in recovery sitting on the grassToday, an estimated 16,000 rehab centers deliver addiction treatment services to millions of Americans. On average, some 4 million of us go to rehabilitation every year. However, with dozens of choices in treatment type and style, it can be difficult to decide what’s right for you. Here, one of the biggest first choices is whether you’re attending inpatient or residential addiction treatment or outpatient treatment.

Both treatment options have pros and cons. And, residential treatment is definitely the best fit for some people and outpatient treatment for others. Therefore, making that decision will mean reviewing your needs and possibly talking to a consultant to help you decide what’s right for you. However, this article will help you get started with an overview of who’s best suited for residential addiction treatment.

Those with a History of Relapse

If you’ve tried to quit before and ended up relapsing, you likely go into rehab with a mindset that it isn’t going to work and you’re just going to fail. That can mean that you don’t even try – not even to get clean and sober to begin with. Going to a residential treatment facility means you’re forced into being clean and sober because you have no access to drugs and alcohol over the duration of the program. That duration can be 28, 30, 90 days or even longer. This means you’ll have plenty of time to detox and recover physically from your addiction – without having to navigate the hurdles of being able to just buy something and get drunk or high whenever you want.

However, if you do have a history of relapse, it’s important to talk about it with your counselor. That may result in preventive steps like ensuring you go into an aftercare program after you graduate, extra checkups, or a MAT (Medication-Assisted Treatment) maintenance program to ensure you can’t relapse once you’re back on your own.

People Without a Stable Home Situation

Addiction treatment relies on you having a comfortable routine and a good basis to build your life on so that you can work to rebuild your life and your behaviors. This means that if you have a tumultuous situation at home, if your friends and family at home also use, or if you don’t currently have a stable living situation, it’s better to go to an inpatient rehab facility.

Residential treatment can also vary from clinical settings to home-like settings with small groups brought together for treatment. They can offer all of the comfort and most of the privacy of home, although you will be asked to participate in social behavior, which typically means sharing a room, communal eating, and communal activities.

In addition, you can often move out of residential programs and into sober homes or halfway homes to benefit from that same level of stable home situation so you can maintain your recovery after you graduate the program.

Those Who Need Privacy

Many people don’t attend rehab or treatment because they’re afraid that other people will find out. In some cases, it’s important to learn to talk about your mental health and your substance abuse issues. In other cases, doing so could actually hurt your career or your study. In the latter case, it’s usually a good idea to travel to rehab and to attend treatment with full privacy. While that will cost more, it may be an important step for your career and your long-term well-being.

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Anyone in Need of Intensive Care

client medical monitoring by a doctorResidential treatment gives you the benefit of 24/7 medical monitoring and care. You also get more contact with nurses, doctors, therapists, and counselors, because they are working around you all the time. Therefore, while outpatient treatment can be as effective as inpatient treatment for those with a light to moderate addiction, anyone in need of intensive care is normally recommended into residential treatment.

Residential treatment also normally means you get more personalized care, because your therapist is better able to see your progress, gauge your reactions, and adjust your program to you and with your progress. This can mean you get support for dual diagnosis, that you get extra help with something specific you’re struggling with, or that you have the full program tailored to your needs rather than being put in a general recovery program. In each case, it can and does improve outcomes.

Who needs intensive care? In most cases, anyone with a predisposition to substance abuse (e.g., family history of, family history of abuse, family history of trauma), co-occurring mental health disorder, repeated history of treatment and relapse, high substance abuse (e.g., blacking out using alcohol, risking overdose with drugs), etc. Of course, there are many other reasons you might need intensive care and personalized treatment, so talk to your doctor.

Getting Help

If you’re struggling with a substance use disorder, it’s important to keep in mind that any help is better than no help at all. If you can’t afford or can’t make time to go to residential addiction treatment, it’s better to go to an outpatient program and see what you can learn from it. Outpatient treatment can also add significant value to your recovery and may be enough to help you quit drugs or alcohol for good.

However, it’s also a good idea to talk to your doctor and your counselors to determine what is a best fit for you and your needs. People are often recommended into residential treatment when:

  • They have a long history of drug or alcohol abuse
  • They are heavy users
  • They have no stable living situation
  • People in their close friends and family also use
  • Their family life is tumultuous
  • They experience a high amount of stress in daily life
  • They have significant complicating factors such as a dual diagnosis
  • They have specific career needs that could negatively impact treatment
  • Medical or mental health complications require extra medical or therapeutic attention

In each case, you don’t have to tick the boxes to benefit from residential treatment. Anyone can benefit from stepping away from day-to-day life and focusing fully on treatment and therapy. However, if this profile does sound like you, you are likely best suited for residential treatment.

Eventually, the best option is to get help. If you talk to a counselor at a treatment center or to your doctor, they can help you make the right choice to get the help you need. Good luck.

If you or your loved-one struggles from alcoholism or other substance abuse please contact us today and speak with one of our experienced and professional intake advisors about our detox, partial hospitalization, and residential treatment programs. 10 Acre Ranch also has specialty tracks like our pet friendly drug rehab and couples substance abuse treatment programs. We’re here to help you recover.

What is Evidence Based Addiction Treatment?

people during 12 step meeting

What is Evidence Based Addiction Treatment?

people during 12 step meetingIn 2020, some 4.1 million people (or 1.5% of the population received substance abuse treatment across an estimated 16,000 treatment facilities in the U.S. Those facilities offer a wealth of options, ranging from 12-step and Christian-based treatment to rigorous evidence-based treatment and therapy built around research and long-term outcomes. That wide variety of choice means you’ll have options to choose from, to select a type of therapy that works for you or your loved one’s lifestyle, beliefs, and preferences. However, it also means you may want to learn what those treatments actually mean and how they work.

One of the most pressing questions is “what is evidence-based” therapy. This term is typically used to reference a standard of quality, which means that methods have been researched and proven to be effective in achieving recovery. This gives you more assurance that the program will actually help you to recover – although results almost always depend on your mindset and motivation.

What Does Evidence-Based Mean?

Evidence-based is a term that means research has been done and has produced evidence that the treatment has a positive effect. However, the term doesn’t say anything about the quality or scientific rigorousness of the study.

For example, LSD was used for years to treat mental health patients based on a study of just four people. On the other hand, CBT is now used to treat substance use disorders based on studies containing thousands of test subjects.

Evidence-based can also mean that a program is based on results from the program. This means that the term can be abused. For example, if 2% of the total patient population go on to graduate into recovery, evidence shows that the program works. For this reason, “evidence” based isn’t good enough and you’ll always want to ask about completion rates, recovery rates, etc. However, even those can be difficult to use as a proof of efficacy, because treatment centers conduct their own research based on factors like program completion rates, sobriety in the months immediately following treatment, and alumni interviews at follow-up points of 6 months or a year.

Evidence-Based vs Research-Based

You’ll also often see terms like “research based” or “science-based” instead of evidence based. Here, terminology can be confusing because it may be used interchangeably. This means that it’s highly likely there is no difference between the evidence-based and research-based claim.

However, a good “research based” program would use a treatment method after initial studies have shown potential efficacy, followed up on how that treatment efficacy lasts, and followed up to understand which parts of the treatment helped and why to work on building a better program.

Unfortunately, you won’t know which a rehab center means unless you start asking questions. Or, if you do your own investigation into the treatment methods they use to see how well studied they are.

Here, most therapeutic interventions are well-studied and well-tested. In addition, any medication assisted program is actually regulated by the government, meaning that it is very well tested and proven. On the other hand, there are many complementary therapies, spiritual programs, and holistic programs that are not based on rigorous research at all.

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Do You Need an Evidence-Based Program?

a male client during therapy from an evidenced based programEventually, most studies show that any treatment is better than no treatment at all. Attending a 12-step program like AA or NA still gives you social accountability and motivation – which can empower you to quit and stay clean and sober. However, looking for and finding a scientifically tested and proven treatment option may improve your chances of recovery. For example:

  • Has this treatment method been tested on many people and been proven effective at a high level?
  • What is the program graduation rate?
  • What is the recovery rate at 6 months? A year? 5 years?
  • How much follow-up treatment is needed to achieve those success rates?
  • Are there rigorous and objective controls in place to ensure the quality of data from a study?

Evidence based treatment should be tested for:

  • Safety
  • Efficacy
  • Long-term results

That’s important for ensuring that you can easily move into treatment without questioning the treatment itself.

Eventually, most people looking for treatment don’t have the scientific expertise to determine if a treatment method is science-based. You also shouldn’t have to. However, looking for evidence-based treatments can help you to ensure that your program is based on research and evidence of success.

Choosing a Treatment Center

There’s no one best option for treatment for everyone. In fact, the best treatment programs are those that are tailored to the individual, updated as the individual progresses through treatment, and adapted to meet specific needs. However, some of the following include evidence-based treatment methods you can look for:

  • Medication-Assisted Treatment – Pharmacological interventions including acamprosate, buprenorphine, disulfiram, LAAM, methadone, and naltrexone.
  • Individual and group counseling
  • Interventions
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Motivational enhancement therapy
  • Multi-dimensional family therapy
  • Couples behavioral therapy
  • Family strategic therapy
  • Contingency management therapy
  • Relapse prevention therapy
  • 12-step facilitation treatment
  • Problem-service matching for customized treatment

Other forms of behavioral therapy such as DBT and EMDR may have research-based and evidence-based claims as well. Many treatment centers also offer complementary therapy. However, this means that the treatment is added on to the primary treatment and will not, on its own, help you to get clean and sober. Instead, it may improve or enhance the primary therapy. They are almost always based on small scale studies rather than larger studies – which means they are not suitable primary treatments.

If you’re worried about the efficacy of treatment, there’s a lot to navigate. With over 16,000 treatment centers in the United States, there’s also a lot to choose from. Here, it’s important to take into account that CBT, family therapy, behavioral therapy, and medication-assisted treatments are the most proven treatment methods for recovering from a substance use disorder. However, counseling, 12-step, and other types of therapy can also be extremely effective – especially when used in conjunction with CBT. In addition, the best programs typically tailor their treatment to the individual, so you tackle your individual problems and overcome specific behaviors or issues. It can be extremely difficult to independently verify the efficacy of any therapy offered by a treatment center, however, asking about what methodology is used, how programs are built, and what you can expect in terms of treatment, counseling, and therapy, will put you on the right track to figuring out if the center uses evidence-based treatment or not.

If you or your loved-one struggles from alcoholism or other substance abuse please contact us today and speak with one of our experienced and professional intake advisors about our detox, partial hospitalization, and residential treatment programs. 10 Acre Ranch also has specialty tracks like our pet friendly drug rehab and couples substance abuse treatment programs. We’re here to help you recover.

How to Tell if Someone is on Meth

thoughful man struggling from meth addiction

How to Tell if Someone is on Meth

thoughful man struggling from meth addictionIf you expect that a loved one is abusing methamphetamine, it can be difficult to verify. For example, most people won’t be truthful if you attempt to sit down and have a conversation. Instead, drug abusers lie, throw back accusations, and use deception, even to the point of deceiving themselves. Yet, some 2.5 million Americans use methamphetamine, and an estimated 1.6 million of those are addicted to the drug. With almost 1 in 100 Americans using meth, it’s not unlikely that your suspicions of drug abuse are founded on something – so you can look for symptoms and take steps to get your loved one help.

Importantly, if your loved one is abusing drugs, it’s important to be gentle, non-judgmental, and caring. That starts with your investigation into whether they’re using or not. Your loved one should always be treated as a person with an illness, not someone making bad decisions or someone deliberately doing the wrong thing. The more you use judgment and anger, the more likely it is that you’ll have trouble getting them into treatment.

In most cases, you can start with three basic things. Looking for symptoms of your loved one being high, looking at long-term side-effects of meth, and looking for paraphernalia and other signs of drug abuse.

Symptoms of Being High

Methamphetamine is a stimulant which rapidly acts on the body, resulting in increases in energy, alertness, motivation, and mania. Normally, these symptoms last for about 12 hours or more, with a defined “manic” period followed by a crash. Initially, people act like they are suddenly excited and full of energy, are agitated, breathe more heavily, and may have dilated pupils. These symptoms can kick in within 15 minutes of taking a dose and can result in a period of being agitated and energetic that lasts up to 36 hours. Afterwards, people tend to crash, sleeping for tens of hours at a time and sometimes for a full 24-hour period.

That after-effect or “Crash” also often comes with cold and flu symptoms like redness around the eyes, runny nose, fatigue, and depression. They might be unable to sleep, but while being tired. And, that will happen cyclically, every time they use and crash.

Of course, people with manic disorders tend to have similar symptoms, minus the cold and flu symptoms. That’s also problematic considering people with bipolar disorders tend to struggle with substance abuse. So, it can be much harder to notice methamphetamine use in someone who already has manic episodes.

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Understand the Symptoms of Long-Term Meth Abuse

sad woman struggling from meth addictionThe longer your loved one uses methamphetamine, the more noticeable the side-effects will be. Methamphetamine has a significant effect on users, with an estimated 18% of all users and up to 70% of regular users suffering from psychotic episodes and psychosis. Unfortunately, longer-term symptoms can be difficult to notice, because they often happen gradually. People don’t go from one state to the next but instead gradually slide into being worse and worse. You might look up one day to realize that your loved one is doing really badly, even if you’ve been seeing them every day.

That’s a natural result of being around someone everyday and gradual change. You just get used to it. But, if you notice the following symptoms affecting your loved one, they are symptoms of meth use.

  • They have difficulty feeling happy or showing happiness at things they used to like. They might just not be excited for anything or they might be “meh” at everything. This is known as emotional blunting and happens when serotonin and dopamine channels are overloaded and the brain stops or reduces producing both.
  • They have out of character periods of depression, which might last for weeks at a time. That’s especially true if the first few days of this always come with cold and flu symptoms. However, this could also be a symptom of bipolar disorder or depression.
  • They struggle to sleep or maintain a healthy sleeping schedule. For example, they might sleep for several days at a time and then not sleep for several days.
  • They start to show physical symptoms of meth use such as tooth decay, muscle tics, or jumps.
  • They start to be paranoid or irrational behavior and may think people are out to get them, may take hunches to extremes, and may jump at every shadow.
  • They might start to be more manipulative, even showing completely different personality traits. For example, they might deliberately lash out and try to hurt you. They might also deliberately try to manipulate you to feel bad so you stop asking questions. They might guilt trip you, lash out, or use righteous anger to make you feel bad. And while those reactions and behaviors can be justifiable in some circumstances, in others, they are not. People who are abusing methamphetamine will likely to start to use them indiscriminately to get what they want.
  • They lose a significant and worrying amount of weight, to the point where they look unhealthy. They might also lose hair and teeth if they lose enough weight. This can be difficult to tell, especially if they were overweight, but sudden and rapid weight loss without dramatically changing diet and exercise is unlikely without an illness or drug abuse.
  • They show symptoms of psychosis like hallucinations, talking about things that aren’t there, having trouble telling what’s real or not, itching or scratching at things crawling on their skin, having irrational beliefs, etc.
  • They show increases in aggression and irritability and may lash out at even small provocations.
  • They have memory problems and might not be able to clearly put an event together, even if it was a day or two ago.
  • They “tweak” or stay awake for extremely long periods, sometimes as long as 2 weeks, with agitated and jerky movement, extreme irrationality, and difficulty functioning.

Methamphetamine can be subtle in small doses. However, heavy abusers often change so drastically, physically and psychologically, that the people who love them barely recognize them. They can become aggressive, mean, paranoid, manipulative, and irritable. They might have memory problems, they might not show love or excitement for anything, and they might even look completely different. But, when that happens, your loved one is very obviously and very heavily addicted to meth.

Physical Signs

There are always going to be non-health and behavior related signs of drug use. Here, you can actively look for some of the following:

  • Paraphernalia such as glass pipes
  • Needles
  • Ropes or hoses
  • Unexplained blood
  • They constantly run out of money or things happen that require money
  • They manipulate you to get money
  • Things go missing or are stollen

sad man struggling from meth addiction

If you find drug use paraphernalia, it’s a pretty strong sign your loved one is using. That’s true even if they deny it or say that their friend was using and they did not.

Getting Help

Millions of Americans use stimulants like methamphetamine. Unfortunately, these drugs are never safe and run high risks of physical and psychological harm, with up to 70% of methamphetamine users experiencing significant psychosis. The sooner you quit, the less likely you are to have lifelong side effects and problems.

Unfortunately, it can be extremely difficult to talk someone into going to treatment and therapy. That can take time, building trust that you really want to help. And, it can mean convincing that person that life is better without meth.  Good luck getting your loved one into treatment.


If you or your loved-one struggles from alcoholism or other substance abuse please contact us today and speak with one of our experienced and professional intake advisors about our detox, partial hospitalization, and residential treatment programs. 10 Acre Ranch also has specialty tracks like our pet friendly drug rehab and couples substance abuse treatment programs. We’re here to help you recover.



How to Go to Rehab and Keep Your Job

an employee with issues at work

How to Go to Rehab and Keep Your Job

an employee with issues at workStruggling with drugs or alcohol can ruin your life. For most of us, the only way to stop the cycle of relying on substances is to take a break and go to rehab. And, while some 42.3 million Americans qualify as having a substance use disorder, only about 11% of those ever seek out rehab. Here, barriers like careers, family care, stigma, and funding clinical care can call get in the way. That’s especially true if you’re a professional with a reputation to uphold, where you might feel that calling in sick for a month to deal with a substance use disorder will get you fired.

Fortunately, the United States has a lot of law in place to protect you when you do seek out rehab. In addition, you’ll have the option to attend rehab without quitting work – which means you’ll never have to take time off. The following article reviews your options, and which might be a best-fit for your circumstances.

Consider Your Options

Most people think of rehab and immediately consider an inpatient clinic, where you stay for 30+ days to receive round-the-clock care. That’s one way to get treatment. However, you can also opt for outpatient care.

Inpatient Care – 30+ days at a rehab clinic, typically out of state where you’ll have privacy. Costs are high and only about 15-20% is covered by most insurance programs. However, you get one-on-one care, a break from stress and triggers, and the ability to fully focus on recovery. This option is often recommended for people with severe addictions.

Intensive Outpatient Care – Intensive Outpatient Care or IOP allows you to attend rehab for a few hours a day, after work, so you can continue going to work for the duration. This option allows you to avoid asking for time off, so you don’t have to tell your boss anything. In addition, outpatient care can be as effective as inpatient care – providing you stick to it and attend throughout the whole program. IOP also means you’ll stay in the same environment as before – which means that if you frequently drink or use at work, it may not be the best option for you. However, you can pair outpatient treatment with staying in a sober home for maximum support and a change of lifestyle, without having a gap in work.

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You’re Legally Protected

human resource discusses Sick leave the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Affordable Care Act to an employeeWhile you might not want to take a 30-day break from work, you are legally protected. Sick leave, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) all mean you are protected in case you seek out medical care for rehab. The ACA classifies substance use disorders as a temporary disability – firing you because of one is against the law. Of course, if you’ve explicitly signed away those rights or your employer catches you using on the job, that’s another story. The FMLA also allows you to take up to 12 weeks of free time for an undisclosed medical reason – with nothing more than a doctor’s note that doesn’t have to say what you’re taking the time off for.

Coincidentally, if your employer has over 50 employees, they’re also legally obligated to offer assistance and insurance covering rehab. This means you can go to HR, discuss your problems with substance abuse, and have them help you move into a program. You might not want to do so, as it may impact your reputation or your long-term standing in the company because stigma does still exist, but you do have the right.

In addition, Obamacare and FMLA both allow you to apply for short-term disability through your employer. You’ll have to request medical leave, sit through decisions, and possibly fight them. However, you don’t have to reveal why you’re requesting leave or temporary disability. It’s up to your medical professionals to determine if you need it, not your employer.

Keep in Mind that Disclosure Isn’t Required

If you’re afraid you’ll lose your job or reputation at your job for going to rehab, you don’t have to disclose. You never have to tell your employer why you’re taking sick or medical leave of any kind. In addition, if you’re going to rehab in the weekends or at night, you can keep this to yourself. You never have to tell your employer what goes on in your personal life. In fact, if they ask, you can report them to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Of course, your employer may be able to help. Many offer assistance with rehab, can offer ongoing rehabilitation programs, can offer financial assistance, etc.

However, whether or not you disclose is up to you and the amount of privacy you need.

employee getting help for her addiction treatmentIn Summary

If you’re struggling with drugs and alcohol, getting help is the best thing you can do for your future – with or without your job. But there’s no reason why you can’t go to rehab and keep your job.

What if I Can’t Take Time Off Work?

You definitely can take time off work. You’re legally protected by FMLA, which allows you up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off. If you stack that with sick days, you can likely limit that to about 3 weeks of unpaid time off. Your employer isn’t legally allowed to fire you for doing so.

What if I Can’t Afford Unpaid Time Off Work?

You can always take the route of going to an intensive outpatient rehab center. This allows you to go to work during the day and attend rehab at night or during the weekends. These programs are typically 3-6 hours per day – so your life will be busy. However, you will get the care you need without taking unpaid time off work. And, if you mix IOP with a sober living home, you can get most of the benefits of inpatient care without taking off work. Alternatively, you could apply for FMLA and temporary disability to ensure you receive some money to make up for the missed paychecks. However, this process can be quite lengthy.

If you or a loved one is struggling, there are always options. Whether that’s taking the hit and taking unpaid time off work or committing to a busy month and going to therapy while you work, you can mix rehab and your job. Most importantly, your employer isn’t allowed to fire you for getting treatment for a substance use disorder, even if you disclose that disorder to them.

If you or your loved-one struggles from alcoholism or other substance abuse please contact us today and speak with one of our experienced and professional intake advisors about our detox, partial hospitalization, and residential treatment programs. 10 Acre Ranch also has specialty tracks like our pet friendly drug rehab and couples substance abuse treatment programs. We’re here to help you recover.