Drug Rehab and Alcohol Treatment Center Smoking Bans

Drug Rehab and Alcohol Treatment Center Smoking Bans

Can smoking cigarettes during your drug rehab and alcohol treatment determine whether you have recovery success or not? Rehab centers are beginning to think so.

Recently, a new tobacco-free policy was instituted at an Ohio women’s drug abuse treatment center. While tobacco-free treatment facilities began in New Jersey during the 1990’s, this treatment center was the first in Ohio to go tobacco free. Tobacco-free facilities have begun to make their way to other parts of the country as well.

Now did banning smoking really make a difference at the treatment center in Ohio? Yes…just not in the way they were expecting.

In a study done during the first few months after the tobacco-free policy was instituted, it was found that both smokers and non-smokers alike were more likely to leave treatment early. The researchers also found that the percentage of patients who completed their program at the women’s center decreased from 70 to 42 percent. The success rate wasn’t the only thing that dropped, the average number of days that patients remained in the program dropped from 61 to 48 days. Those are both pretty substantial decreases in just a few months.

Drug rehab and alcohol treatment facilities have generally tended to allow patients to smoke because many believe that treating someone for smoking in addition to other substance abuse is just too difficult and will likely end in failure. In addition many facilities fear that simply, banning smoking will cause them to lose business. The other train of thought is that since many patients use cigarettes as a crutch to help them cope while trying to defeat other addictions, their smoking could pose to be just as much of a problem.

Gretchen Hammond, who works for Amethyst Inc. in Ohio stated, “You behave very similarly with a cigarette as you would with any drug. For example, if I’m having a bad day I’ll try to smoke it away verses talking to someone or going to therapy and working on the problem.”

Now which train of thought is better? There is no definite answer yet. The results from the previously mentioned study in Ohio, don’t necessarily mean that treatment centers shouldn’t try and implement smoking bans, but rather shine a light on the challenges that are associated with implementing a new policy which goes against years and years of conventional thinking.

Have you ever tried to change an extremely stubborn friend’s mind? It’s hard isn’t it? With no definite answer, the question remains, to ban smoking in treatment centers or to not ban smoking?


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