NAATP: Selecting The Right Treatment Program For You

NAATP: Selecting the Right Treatment Program for You

Overcoming a Substance Use Disorder (SUD) comes with many obstacles, not least of which is the daunting task of finding the right treatment provider. The new Treatment Selection Guide from the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP) offers consumers a few simple pieces of advice to guide them in the selection process.

Four Principles to Keep in Mind During Treatment Program Selection

NAATP’s guide is based on four principles that consumers should use to identify the right addiction treatment program.

  • Addiction treatment is health care and must be chosen as such – a well-designed website or photos of a luxurious facility may be appealing when scoping out a potential program, but the focus of the consumer should always be on what the program has to offer as a health care service. After all, it is their capability of addressing your SUD that you value.
  • There are knowable Indicia of quality in addiction treatment – finding the right program is hard, but know that you’re not choosing blindly. Signifiers of quality may include the the program using evidence-based practices, the staff’s credentials, or the facility’s accreditation. If you’re unsure of a program after visiting the website, schedule a tour to see the facility in person. Even a short visit can indicate a lot about a potential treatment program.
  • Transparency of treatment center information is essential – centers should be straightforward about useful information such as where they are located or the number of years they’ve been operating. The most promising facilities should have outcomes data (i.e. “success rate”) and other clinical or insurance information available.
  • A treatment program should pledge compliance and accountability to a Code of Ethics – it is important to be confident in a program’s integrity before selecting it for treatment. Check to make sure a program has adopted NAATP’s Code of Ethics or a similar system.

The four principles form the framework for the remainder of NAATP’s suggestions for treatment center selection.

Scrutinizing Programs

NAATP advises consumers to approach selecting a treatment center for a SUD as they would with any other medical condition: specifically, taking the recommendation of your family and friends, your doctor, or another medical professional. If none of these options are valid, consult your insurance company for in-network providers or visit NAATP’s Addiction Industry Directory.

Be sure to always apply the four principles above when evaluating a potential treatment center. Look for centers that provide consumers with lots of information, that are in your insurance network, and that apply evidence-based addiction treatment practices such as Medication-Assisted Treatment or a 12-step program.

Be on the lookout for such red flags as:

  • Providers talking about their program in general terms and refusing to go into specifics
  • Websites or call directories offering to place you with a treatment center – these businesses are often operating on a previous business relationship with centers and may not have your best interests in mind.
  • Providers offering free travel or other financial incentives – this center may be operating illegally and offers such as this can indicate insurance fraud.

Anything Else?

NAATP provides a list of more than 20 questions to ask potential treatment centers before coming to your decision, including:

  • Are you accredited? If so, by who? What services have been accredited?
  • Are staff on site and awake 24-7?
  • What evidence-based practices are used?
  • What qualifications do your clinicians have? Are group and individual counseling sessions provided by Masters level staff? Do clinicians have specialized training in treating SUD?

Now What?

Visit NAATP’s Addiction Industry Directory for a comprehensive list of NAATP members. Consumers can use filters such as “accredited or not?” and “Medicare accepted or not?” to find the programs that best suit their needs. Apply the four principles and NAATP’s other suggestions and the other suggestions from the NAATP Treatment Selection Guide to help you decide what program is right for you.

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Visit NAATP’s Addiction Industry Directory


AZZLY is a proud member of NAATP, and supports their efforts to provide guidance to treatment centers that support best practices. If you represent a SUD treatment center striving to deliver a gold standard of care through evidence-based practices recommended by the Joint Commission or CARF, contact AZZLY. Visit AZZLY.com and follow us on Facebook to keep up with breaking news and more educational articles such as this in the addiction treatment industry, written by AZZLY industry experts.