The purpose of residential rehabilitation services is to provide individuals who have specific functional deficits with safe and stable living environments so they can develop recovery skills. Treatment services in residential rehabilitation feature a planned regimen of care for a minimum of 25 hours a week. These services, delivered by staff who are on duty 24 hours a day / seven days a week, are designed for both adults and adolescents.

The goals of treatment are to promote abstinence from substance use and antisocial behavior and to facilitate change in the client's lifestyle, attitudes, and values. Individuals who are appropriately placed in residential rehabilitation programs typically have:

  • multiple deficits, which may include substance-related disorders, criminal activity, psychological problems, and impaired functioning
  • mental disorders
  • chaotic, non-supportive, and often abusive interpersonal relationships, including physical, sexual, or emotional trauma
  • extensive treatment or criminal justice histories
  • limited work histories and educational experiences
  • antisocial value systems

These deficits require comprehensive treatment that can address all of the patient's interrelated problems. Effective treatment approaches are primarily habilitative in focus, addressing the patient's educational and vocational deficits as well as the socially dysfunctional behavior. Treatment plans are based on the person's specific needs, and treatment interventions generally are tailored to the person's level of readiness to change. Some residents might need to focus on abstinence and preventing relapse to alcohol and drug use while others might need to focus on developing a sense of personal responsibility and positive character change.

The duration of treatment depends on the person's progress; however, longer exposure to treatment interventions is necessary to allow residents to acquire basic living skills and to master the application and demonstration of coping and recovery skills.

Substance abuse treatment services and residential rehabilitation component are delivered by community-based agencies who are under contract to DHS/Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse. Generally, these services are available locally in communities throughout the state. This system enables clients to be assessed and treated as close to their home communities as possible, allows communities to take ownership of their programs, and facilitates public information. Treatment services are delivered through a continuum approach, with individual clients moving from one level of care to another based on their assessed needs.

In the DHS/OASA substance abuse treatment system in FY2001, a total of 13,703 person over 17 years of age and 1,840 persons between ages 12 and 17 years received 18,245 residential rehabilitation services.