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Can Rehab Centers Report Addiction As Crime?

 A lot of addicts are hesitant to begin their journey simply because they are afraid of being convicted. Drug use is illegal in most areas and the patient may feel scared to get admitted for fear of getting jailed. To ease some of your hesitations, the answer is that drug rehabs cannot call the police just because a patient is admitted for drug use. This is also applicable to people with criminal records. The rehab center cannot call the police if you are merely seeking help.

Rehab centers focus on your recovery from substance use disorder. These centers will equip you with life skills to help you attain recovery and live a healthy and sober life.

There may be instances when a rehab center needs to call the police. Learn more about these instances, patient confidentiality, and your rights in this article.

What is Patient Confidentiality?

Rehab centers have the obligation to protect the personal information of every patient. These centers will issue a privacy policy or confidentiality agreement that states that your personal information will not be released or used for anything else other than your treatment. The staff will also sign the confidentiality agreement. This confidentiality agreement is further supplemented by the following laws:

1.       The Health Insurance and Portability and Accountability Act of 1996

The HIPPA is created in 1996 with the goal of preventing health care professionals from exploiting or sharing sensitive patient information. The information can only be shared if there is explicit consent from the patient. This is also known as doctor-patient confidentiality. This law also covers drug rehab centers. This means that they cannot share your personal information even with the police. The law gives patients privacy and full control over how their medical information can be utilized.

However, there are exceptions to when the information can be legally shared even without your consent. These instances include:

·         Life-threatening medical emergencies

·         Signs of neglect or abuse

·         Subpoenas or legal warrants·        

·         Certain types of researches

For these cases, the facility is allowed to share your information but only enough to fulfill the goals and needs. This means that not everything will be released. Drug rehabs can be severely penalized for unlawful sharing of personal information with up to 10 years of prison.

2.       The Confidentiality of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Patient Records

The Confidentiality of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Patient Records was introduced in 1975 and was revised in 1987. This states that rehab centers are not legally allowed to divulge the personal information of their patients, especially if the information will confirm the patient’s enrollment in the rehab center. This still applies even after the patient has left the rehab center. It can only be overruled if there is explicit consent from the patient or if there is a warrant or subpoena from law enforcement. Any staff member who breaks this law can face legal consequences.

Can Patients Be Convicted In Rehab?

No. patients enter rehab for treatment and will therefore not be turned into the police. However, there are special cases in which law enforcement may have to get involved. One instance is if the person is arrested for non-violent drug abuse. They will go to drug court instead of jail in which they will be mandated to get admitted into court-ordered rehab. This is necessary to reduce the likelihood of relapse or simply for crime prevention.

Patients must show up to drug court because failure to do so will get the police involved since it is an explicit violation of court orders. This may lead to harsher punishments.

Essentially, the police can only be involved if the drug abuse patient is:

·         Exhibiting violent or destructive behavior

·         Wanted by the police (with a warrant to prove it)

·         Only going to rehab to avoid criminal detention

The personnel in the drug rehab center may also call the authorities if the patient is caught using more drugs in the treatment facility. In some cases, law enforcement agents may choose to wait for the patient to complete their inpatient treatment program before they are arrested.

The conclusion is that patients will not get arrested just for having a substance abuse disorder. Treatment facilities will not get the police involved unless the aforementioned criteria are met. At the end of the day, rehab centers have the goal of getting patients the help and treatment they need and deserve. Patients do not need to worry about their personal information being released since there are laws in place that are designed to protect their privacy and wellbeing.

5 Levels Of Care For Addiction Treatment

Level 0.5: Early Intervention

This level is exclusively for people who have high risks of developing substance abuse disorders. This level of care aims to preemptively intervene before the addiction potentially worsens. This is applicable for patients who are predisposed to drug abuse. Part of the program is close monitoring in case the patient’s addiction develops even further.

Level I: Outpatient Treatment

Patients at level 1 are not required to be admitted or to reside in the rehab premises. They are free to live in their residential areas for as long as they are able to attend regular meetings and therapy sessions. These sessions include one-on-one consultations with therapists and counselors. Additionally, patients get access to group therapy. In this way, they can receive continuous treatment while living a relatively normal life.

Outpatient treatment is more affordable compared to residential or inpatient treatment simply because there is no need to cover the residential costs and 24/7 medical care. In this level, the services provided are as follows:

·         Evaluation of the patient’s condition to identify the addiction level

·         Treatment of the patient

·         Follow-up treatment to monitor the patient’s progress

·         Help the patient implement behavioral  changes they have learned from therapy

·         Help improve the patient’s mental health, functioning, and stability

Level I treatment can be a transitional point for patients who came from higher levels of care. It is also beneficial for patients who are not yet ready to conclude their treatment journey.

Level II: Intensive Outpatient Programs or Partial Hospitalization Programs

Level II programs, which include IOP and PHP, are designed to provide the following:

·         Consultation services

·         24/7 crisis hotline

·         Psychopharmacological care

·         Psychiatric care

·         Medical assistance and management·        

·         Support training and services such as vocational training, child care, and transportation

While the two types of treatment are categorized at the same level, there are some differences that truly matter when searching for the right treatment plan that the patient needs. IOP provides education and counseling to help the patient gain a better understanding of their mental health issues and substance abuse disorders. The patients receive referrals to the respective psychiatric and medical departments that will care for them. Take note that unstable psychological conditions and severe medical problems cannot be remedied by IOP.

For severe cases that require close medical monitoring, PHP is highly recommended. PHP provides direct access to medical professionals as well as laboratory services. The program provides a multidimensional approach for patients with co-occurring disorders with a focus on hospitalization.

Level III: Inpatient Programs or Residential Treatment

Level III provides a stable, safe, and comfortable environment that is conducive for recovery. The patients will be admitted to the rehab center wherein they are to be isolated from the rest of the world so that they will be far from temptations. In the center, they can focus on recovery by attending group meetings, individual therapy, and even holistic treatment programs.

Level 3.1: Low-intensity, clinically managed residential treatment

This level provides 24/7 care and support. This level focuses on teaching the patients the different recovery skills they need to attain sobriety. They will also be taught how to form their own relapse prevention plans while training them to have a more stable emotional status.

Level 3.3: Medium-intensity, clinically managed residential treatment

This is also known as extended or long-term care. This level focuses on slower and repetitive steps that are essential for targeting mental illnesses linked to substance abuse. This level provides ongoing case management, vocational training, self-help meetings, and transportation services.

Level IV: Medically-Managed Intensive Inpatient Program

Level IV is referred to as the most intense and comprehensive treatment plan reserved for the most severe cases. The patients are medically detained in the facility where there is professional staff on-call, 24/7. The staff is also trained with acute care skills and resources to deal with co-occurring disorders. This level of care is designed to help patients transition to lower levels of care as they recover.

Consult us at R&R Recovery today to learn more about the different levels of care as well as what will best suit you or your recovering loved one. Take your first steps towards recovery with us today.

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