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An Overview of Addiction Treatment Credentials and What They Mean

An Overview of Addiction Treatment Credentials and What They Mean

State licenses are required to operate a rehab clinic, that does not always translate into effective treatment

With dozens of choices and no one to guide you, deciding the best route to take for opium addiction rehab is a challenge. You could spend hours researching each treatment center individually but it can be hard to compare facilities directly because of differences in treatment approach and state licensing requirements. Comparing state licenses for rehab clinics and staff may not be the best way to narrow down your list of possible choices for treatment but there are other credentials that may indicate a facility offers effective treatment.

Why Accreditation Matters

Most addiction treatment clinics have the proper state licensing but licensing requirements are different for each state. Some states are more stringent than others, so just because two treatment facilities are licensed does not mean they are equal. A state license is not an endorsement of a clinic’s quality of care, only a certificate stating the facility meets the minimum state standards.

Accreditation, on the other hand, is standardized nationally and providers must pass a thorough evaluation to become an accredited provider.[1] Accreditation is not required to operate an addiction treatment program but it is a sign that treatment meets the standards of the respective accreditor. Most state licensing agencies apply CARF or Joint Commission accreditation toward licensing requirements, as it has stricter guidelines than state licensing. The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) is the largest accreditor of addiction treatment programs, followed by the Joint Commission. If a facility is accredited by a top agency it has passed an in-depth review of the program’s treatment approach/structure, practices, curriculum, and outcomes. After passing the initial accreditation process a provider must continue to improve their quality of care to maintain their accreditation.

Does Accreditation Guarantee Professional Quality Treatment?

While accreditation means a facility is committed to providing quality care and personalized addiction treatment there are other credentials that matter as well. If a provider is accredited by CARF or the Joint Commission it is required to offer treatment that is evidence-based, using practices supported by published research and the consensus of leading professionals. Accreditation is a good sign but it is not a guarantee that you will receive the necessary quality of care.

Top accreditors may require a physician to oversee detox or other services but beyond that, staff qualifications are not quite as strictly regulated. Most top accreditors only require a treatment program’s staff to obtain the necessary state licenses and certifications. State laws and requirements dictate which counselors and other professionals are allowed to offer treatment, but standards vary from state to state. It is not safe to depend solely on state licensing to ensure a qualified staff. Ask a prospective facility about its staff qualifications, including the required level of education, experience, and specialized training.[2]

Selecting the Right Addiction Treatment Program

Doing the proper research will help you narrow down the list of potential clinics, but the decision eventually comes down to choosing the program that fits you best. There are plenty of quality rehab clinics around the country but if you are not receptive to therapy or the treatment approach you may not gain as much from rehab as possible. Find out as much as you can about prospective treatment programs before making a final decision, then you can compare your top choices and pick the one that is best for you. Make sure a rehab clinic takes a research-based approach to treatment as well as provides excellent care and personal attention to recovering users and their needs.[3]

There are many factors that play into your decision including the program structure, quality of staff, facilities, location, cost, and the length of treatment. Decide what is most important to you in a rehab clinic and look for programs that meet those needs. You may not find a rehab clinic that meets every expectation but after finding out which programs meet your criteria you are more likely to get the type of treatment you are looking for. Be mindful of the cost of treatment but do not let the financial burden be your main concern. If you do not have the necessary funds for treatment there are a number of options available including paying using health insurance, scholarships, or financing.

Locate Professional Treatment Today

Are you ready to get help for your opium abuse but still have questions about what to expect in rehab or where to find treatment? Call our toll-free helpline and we will be happy to tell you more about what effective rehab looks like. After discussing your treatment needs we can refer you to a clinic so you can expedite the enrollment process. Have your health insurance information handy when you call so we can determine if it will pay for part of rehab. Our trained addiction specialists assist users in locating quality effective treatment and we are standing by 24 hours a day to take your call.


[1] What Does Drug Rehab Accreditation Really Mean? By Dr. David Sack

[2] Choose the Right Addiction Treatment Center for You

[3] Choosing a Drug Treatment Program