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Identifying Appropriate Treatment

The setting for substance abuse treatment should be the least restrictive environment, based upon, among other things, the client's use/abuse and any prior treatment history. Unfortunately, clients referred for assessment and treatment in publicly funded programs may face a "waiting list" situation. All referrals for treatment are based on available slots or beds. H igh-risk pregnant women in Alaska are given priority admission into State Approved treatment programs.

The Alaska Division of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse must approve any treatment program being considered for use.

There are several different modalities of treatment that may be offered by programs approved by the Division:

  • Detoxification: 24-hour supervised non-medical residential care. The primary focus of the program is to supervise the client's withdrawal from alcohol and/or other drugs and to motivate the client to participate in a regimen of ongoing treatment. To be admitted a client must be intoxicated, under the influence or in mild to moderate withdrawal. The length of stay may range from 1-7 days, based upon client assessments.

  • Outpatient: The least restrictive form of substance abuse treatment. May be available day or evening, including ongoing counseling of no less than once every thirty days for each client or as often as several days per week. Twenty-four hour access to staff by telephone and for unscheduled visits resulting from crises or problem situations may also be available.

  • Residential: Refers to treatment for those clients whose substance abuse is interfering substantially with their ability to function and who need a therapeutic environment more structured than outpatient. Residential treatment is a professionally supervised therapeutic environment which supports the concept of abstinence as a primary goal and provides services such as:
    • Differential assessment
    • Individual and group counseling
    • Life skills
    • Family treatment
    • Intervention
    • Detoxification
    • Education
    • Therapeutic recreation

  • Long Term Residential Services: Designed for clients with significant substance abuse impairment, or who have previous treatment failures in less intensive treatment settings, or who lack social support system(s) and need a highly structured, specialized intensive treatment program and environment. Clients shall be medically and psychiatrically capable of participating in program activities. The length of stay is based on client needs and may be up to nine months.

  • Transitional Residential Treatment Services: Designed for clients who are transitioning to the community, outpatient treatment or more intensive residential treatment. Their chronic substance abuse, lack of a functional living situation, possible unemployment and level of social or psychological dysfunction necessitates a flexible length of stay in a residential setting with variable levels and intensities of therapeutic contact and other structured activities and services. Length of stay is flexible, normally not exceeding 120 days.

  • Therapeutic Community (TC): Designed for clients whose chronic substance for clients whose chronic substance abuse and social or characterological dysfunction necessitate long-term, highly structured treatment which may include a community re-entry phase. This treatment milieu focuses on behavioral changes including impulse control for clients who usually have an intensive history of involvement with the criminal justice system and/or antisocial behavior. The length of stay may be up to two years.

  • Methadone Detox and Maintenance: Treatment regime of more than six months duration which administers an approved controlled substance to an opiate dependent person for the purpose of decreasing dependence upon an illegal substance in order to rehabilitate, with a long term goal of decreasing the person's substance abuse and leading to an eventual substance-free lifestyle.

Treatment may be located in different types of facilities:

  • Hospital-based treatment: Located in a general acute care hospital, often administered by outside for-profit organizations who establish these programs as profit centers for themselves and the hospital.

  • Free standing centers: Devoted exclusively to addiction treatment. Treatment generally uses a non-medical approach in which no drugs are used except in detoxification and where counseling (both individual and group) is geared to self-help concept.

  • Publicly supported facilities: May be free-standing or hospital based. Program receives governmental support in order to provide services to low-income substance abusers; however, it also provides services to persons with ability to pay. Federal regulations require that a public supported program MUST accept a pregnant woman no matter what trimester she is in and MUST accept her even if she does not have a ability to pay for treatment. A pregnant substance-abusing woman MUST be placed at the top of the priority list for entry into treatment.

Programs are available both on an outpatient and residential basis for individuals who have both a mental health and substance abuse problem.

Treatment Facilities


Alaska Women's Resource Center
111 West Ninth Avenue
Anchorage, AK 99501
(907) 278-2627

3916 East Ninth Avenue
Anchorage, AK 99508
(907) 333-6677

P.O. Box 190567
Anchorage, AK 99519
(907) 276-2898


Women & Children's Program
P.O. Box 74450
Fairbanks, AK 99707
(907) 456-7819

P.O. Box 71070
Fairbanks, AK 99707
(907) 452-1274
(Pregnant & Postpartum Native Adolescents)


M at-Su Recovery Center
2801 Bogard Road
Wasilla, AK 99654
(907) 373-2454

Additional facilities may be found by contacting The Healthy Alaskans Information Line at 1-800-478-2221.

Barriers to Referral for Substance Abuse Treatment:

  • Attitude of "It's none of my business"

  • Not aware of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug resource, including free or low-cost treatment for low-income clients

  • Substance abuse treatment resources not locally available-"Why identify a problem if no resources are available?"

  • Lack of information regarding how to access substance abuse services

  • Desire to "protect" women

  • Reluctance to refer client of same ethnic/racial background or social class/background

  • Physician's reluctance to make a diagnosis for fear of having to examine their own
    children/family situation

  • Fear of losing clients and/or fear of lawsuits

  • Client's insurance doesn't cover cost of treatment

  • Paperwork, waiting time

  • Probation/parole status of women

  • Lack of availability of treatment sensitive to women and women's issues