What is “substance abuse,” technically? Substance abuse presents a few different ways, some of which include the misuse of prescription medication, the use of illegal substances, or the overuse of legal substances. As with other diagnoses and diseases, substance abuse disorders do not discriminate and affect people across various ages, races, cultures, educational levels, occupations, geographic locations, and so on. It can feel scary when someone is battling against substance abuse/addiction but there are resources available for help.
First and foremost, if someone is under the influence of a substance and there is concern for their safety or anyone else’s safety, do not hesitate to call emergency services/911. Examples include someone being unable to walk, speak, or if they are unresponsive or hostile and could pose a threat to themselves or others. If emergency services or hospital treatment are not necessary and someone is in need of less-immediate help, one common starting point is a detox treatment facility. “But I have called many and there are no available beds!” This is common but not the end of the road for help. Bed availability changes by the day at detox facilities and there is a very good chance that something will open soon if nothing is immediately available. Please see the links at the end of this article if you are currently in need of services at a detox facility.
There are many options for treatment after receiving services at a detox facility (if this first step is clinically necessary). One can then transition to a Clinical Stabilization Services (CSS) facility or Transitional Support Services (TSS) facility, both of which involve short-term, usually inpatient treatment to provide further support and stabilization after initial detoxification from substances takes place. Another option for continued support after detox is an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), which provides daily programming centered around substance abuse and often mental health issues as well. The difference between CSS/TSS and IOP is that the former are inpatient and clients reside at the program during treatment, and the latter is outpatient and clients return home once treatment groups and sessions are completed for that day.
Should someone choose CSS/TSS and feel that further, more intensive support is needed, IOP long-term residential programs are available. Clients reside at these programs typically between 4-6 months while engaging in intensive programming to address substance abuse and mental health issues, among other needs, in different functional areas of a person’s life that may have been affected by their substance use (e.g. obtaining an I.D. or driver’s license, housing, medical needs, etc.). Further support after residential programs can include sober housing, ongoing therapy, AA meetings and/or sponsorship, working with a Recovery/Sober Coach, and more to help foster long-term recovery.
The above-mentioned is a common journey explained in a somewhat linear way, so it’s important to keep in mind that everyone’s recovery journey is unique to that person. There is no right or wrong way to move through this challenging process. It is tailored and continuously reassessed and readjusted per the needs of the person and their recovery. It can be intimidating and scary to begin the recovery journey, but there are many avenues to explore for information and to begin taking those first steps toward recovery. At Colorful Resilience LLC, we offer a comfortable and safe space to support those struggling with substance abuse and/or those in early recovery who would benefit from an outpatient level of care (in other words, not actively using or detoxing from substances and not in need of a level of care such as detox, CSS/TSS, IOP, or residential treatment) to support the maintenance of their recovery journey. In addition, we can help our clients identify the level of care that is currently needed in their individual recovery journey.
Below is a list of some of the resources available for information and/or treatment options.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: https://www.samhsa.gov/
- The Massachusetts Substance Use Helpline: https://helplinema.org/
- The Massachusetts Bureau of Substance Addiction Services: https://www.mass.gov/orgs/bureau-of-substance-addiction-services
- Massachusetts Addiction Recovery Software, Inc.: https://marsi.org/open-beds/ (This resource helps you find open beds in detox or CSS/TSS facilities across the state.)