Can I Bring My Medications To Rehab?
Medically reviewed byDr. Anna Pickering
April 3, 2019
People suffering from a drug addiction may also need medications to treat other medical conditions and sometimes need to bring medications to rehab with them. However, there are certain criteria to follow with most rehabilitation centers to ensure the safety and success of the individual seeking treatment.
Though many fear having to give up medications used to treat medical conditions, in general, current medical prescriptions, as long as they are not being abused, are permitted. Of course, each drug rehab center is different, and some are more strict than others, but the following list of rules regarding medication in rehab typically apply.
Typical Rules Regarding Medications in Rehab
- Must be prescribed by a physician, though some medications containing highly addictive substances may be restricted
- Must be only enough to cover the length of stay at a given facility
- Liquid medications in sealed bottle
- Pills and tablets in original bottle (no samples)
- Some over-the-counter medications are permitted if unopened
- Nicotine patches are typically permitted
- Vitamins are permitted
Prescription Medications In Drug Rehab
Due to the substantial increase in abuse of prescription medications over the past decade, drug rehab centers are more aware of the need to carefully monitor which drugs are permitted within the center. Medications coming in must be current prescriptions with legible pertinent information regarding dosage, etc., and if liquid, must be in a sealed bottle. Individuals with permitted prescription medications may only bring enough of the medication to be taken within the time-frame of their rehabilitation stay. If the stay is longer than the refill period, enough money to cover co-pay costs is also permitted.
When a prescription medication contains a highly addictive compound, rehab centers tend to handle this in a variety of ways. For someone who is experiencing chronic pain and is taking prescription medications for the pain that contain highly addictive substances, but is entering rehab for alcohol addiction, there remains a risk of polysubstance abuse emerging. In some cases, an alternative medication may be recommended. In other cases, the drug will be locked up and administered at prescribed dosages.
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Despite being over-the-counter, many of these medications do provide an avenue for abuse and are monitored accordingly. Some over-the-counter medications, like ibuprofen, melatonin, and nicotine patches are permitted in many rehabs, however, most prohibit anything containing alcohol or permit only those that do not contain alcohol in the first two to three ingredients. Each of these products must be in its original, sealed container. Vitamins are also permitted, though again, must arrive in the sealed, original container.
Prior To Treatment Prescription Medication Considerations
Prior to entering treatment, you may wish to speak with your doctor about which medications are essential for your health and well-being, and whether any should be substituted for other, less addictive options. This should be done under medical supervision and may require a period of weaning or tapering off of one medication while you begin another.
Though many perceive medications prescribed by a doctor to be safe, over-the-counter drugs can still carry a risk of addiction. Some stimulant medications can cause physical dependency. Other medications, like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) are not only permitted, but are sometimes helpful in alleviating anxiety associated with withdrawals.
Be honest and open about the medications you are currently using and most drug rehab centers will work with you and a medical professional to determine a course of action that will benefit your overall recovery outcome. You are not entering rehab to needlessly suffer. In most cases, medications required for associated medical conditions will not be withheld because you are addicted to another substance. You still have the right to continue prescribed medications as directed.
It is not uncommon for someone coping with addiction to one substance to become addicted, either physically or psychologically, to another. During the course of your drug rehab stay, if a problem with these prescription medications arises, that too, can be assessed and addressed. If you are concerned about losing your prescribed medications, be honest with the facility you choose to determine whether you feel comfortable you will still have access to any required medications.
Locating A Drug Rehab Facility
RehabCenter.net is your online portal for the resources, drug treatment professionals, and evidence-based treatment options available to meet your individual needs. If you are suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol, do not despair. Help is available for a wide variety of addiction types. RehabCenter.net can connect you with drug rehab facilities offering comprehensive programs to help you on your path to recovery. Contact us today and discover a new and rewarding life free from addiction.