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Demystifying intake: You do not need drugs in your system to be admitted to detox

The world of addiction is ripe with misconceptions and myths, but one particularly harmful one we’ve heard time and time again is the belief that you need to have drugs in your system to be admitted to treatment. This may cause vulnerable individuals struggling with addiction to seek out their drug of choice one last time. But that one last time could be fatal.

It is not true that you need to test positive for substances to be admitted into treatment.

Spectrum Health Systems helps anybody requesting help for a substance addiction of any kind.

While urine is tested for substances upon intake, it does not qualify or disqualify anybody from treatment. The misperception may come from the varying levels of care different clients need. For instance, if a client does not present with strong withdrawal symptoms, they will not qualify for medication-assisted-treatment (MAT). Instead, they will be admitted to a lower level of treatment, matched to their individualized needs.

Our nursing staff evaluate an individual to determine their level of withdrawal through symptom-triggered protocol. A client will verbally share his or her history with substances, which is recorded by a clinician, who will then further examine their specific needs based on the evidence-backed Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale (COWS). This assessment examines a client’s anxiety levels, body aches, stomach problems, tremors, pulse and more, culminating their withdrawal level in a point system that properly identifies where they are in the process and the level of care needed.

Assessing the level of withdrawal and potential medical risk in this way is imperative, as not only is each client different, but every substance is different. For example, detoxification is not necessary for cocaine users, but with alcohol, those in withdrawal may experience hallucinations and be at risk for seizures, requiring them to undergo a full medically monitored detoxification process.

Following the clinical assessment, new clients will be given a detox bed and the appropriate medications – or lack thereof – for their present condition. Once completing detoxification, clients will be encouraged to continue the hard work of recovery in one of our residential programs. Following inpatient treatment, clients may continue to receive services and support through Spectrum’s comprehensive continuum of care which also includes a network of outpatient treatment centers and three peer recovery support centers.

Our intake staff is on hand 24 hours a day, seven days a week to welcome you into our care and put you on your own, personalized path to recovery. Never hesitate to visit any of our many Massachusetts locations, found here, or call our admissions team at (800) 366-7732.

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