Looking at Google AdWords ads, you can see that there is competition among drug rehab programs to tout who has the most successful rehabilitation centers. The truth is, these published success rates are relative. What one group deems a success is different for another.

Some people count their success based on the reduction in overall drug use, so even if someone uses drugs twice per week instead of every day they would still call that success. Other programs get it right and measure whether or not someone is using drugs at all. That is a true success rate. However, some may stop counting when the person leaves the program, or within the first few months after completion. The longer they measure that success and drug-free state, the better.

Additionally, it should be noted that retention rate is a factor. Retention rate is the number of people who enroll in the program vs. the percentage who actually complete it. Generally, a retention rate above 50% is better than average. The best retention rate for long term residential programs participating in the national Drug Abuse Treatment Outcome Study (DATOS) was 65%.

Rehab centers that claim all kinds of success rates can be confusing. The key to finding out which ones make sense is to see what they consider to be a success. In other words, do they feel that someone simply completing their program is a success? Do they feel someone going to meetings (whether they’re clean or not) is a success? Or worse, do they actually put them on some type of addictive replacement drug and still think that is a success? An example of this could be methadone maintenance. If they are not on heroin any more but are drinking and taking methadone some programs might still consider that a success as well.

The bottom line is to not get confused or caught up in what is printed until you get the truth. We can help you find out how programs determine their reported success rate and whether or not it is worth your time and money. Not all long term drug rehab programs are going to produce the same result.

Most addiction treatment centers will not print or talk about what their success rates are. Due to this lack of benchmarking, some rehab centers have done their own internal follow-up interviews to see how their program completions are coping in every day life. Based on their findings, this is how they usually come up with their success rate.

Here is what you have to look at as a consumer – what things are they measuring to determine their success? If a program does promote a success rate, find out what the criteria is for success in their eyes. In addition, it is also important to look at other factors in life to determine success. These are things such as other criminal behavior or recent arrests, part-time or full-time employment, relationships with family and friends, etc.

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