Trusted Content

Can I Drive My Own Car To A Rehabilitation Center?

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

February 26, 2019

Different treatment centers have different policies regarding vehicles. If an individual does decide to bring their own car, they will likely have limited or restricted access. Rehabilitation centers implement these strict protocols in order to provide effective treatment.

Rehabilitation Centers Serve Your Best Interest

Rehab facilities often employ various tactics to ensure you’re receiving the highest quality of treatment in order to remain drug or alcohol-free during your stay. This can seem intrusive, and even confrontational at first, but places to serve you in the best possible way.

The ultimate goal of rehabilitation centers is to provide an environment for the safe and effective treatment of addiction – not to take you prisoner or prevent you from driving your own car. However, rehabilitation centers must be diligent in what is accessible during treatment and may restrict certain items during your stay.

Whether you can drive your own vehicle to a rehabilitation center or not depends on the policies of the particular center. If they do allow it, it is likely they will hold your keys for the duration treatment. This may seem harsh but is in your best interest.

What’s more, you’ll also want to consider the legal ramifications and risks of driving while under the influence. While the rehab center won’t get you into trouble if you make it one piece, you could be jeopardizing your safety, and the safety of others, while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

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Drugged Driving Is Dangerous

Before you consider driving your own car to a rehabilitation center, acknowledge your level and type of addiction. If you think there is a chance you may still be using when you enter rehab, think how drugs can make driving unsafe, and put yourself and others at risk.

Different drugs affect driving in differing ways. For example, a person driving on cocaine may be reckless or aggressive, while a person on benzodiazepines may be drowsy and have impaired judgment and slow reaction time.

Nonetheless, any kind of drugged driving is dangerous, and the prevalence of it is sobering.
A 2016 survey found the following results:

  • 11.8 million people over the age of 16 drove under the influence of illicit drugs
  • Men are more likely than women to engage in drugged driving
  • Young adults aged 18-25 years old drive the most while on drugs

How often drugged driving results in crashes or fatalities is difficult to measure. This is due to a few reasons, including many people that crash often has both alcohol and drugs in their system, and it is impossible to determine which caused the car accident.

However, one study conducted in 2009 found that 18 percent of all fatal car crashes involved in some kind of drug use. Then, in 2010, another study found that 11 percent of all deadly car crashes involved the driver testing positive for at least one substance.

While drugged driving is dangerous and should be avoided, it is indisputably the most abused substance endangering driving is alcohol.

Drinking And Driving

If you’re thinking about checking into rehab for an alcohol problem, you may want to not drive your own car to a rehabilitation center. Drinking and driving do not only risk a DUI but also risks your life and the lives of others on the road.

It has been recorded that 29 people die every day from alcohol-related car accidents. Once broken down, that’s one dead person every hour. Drunk driving crashes cause more than 10,000 fatalities each year, resulting in approximate damages of up to 44 billion dollars. That’s a major cost in loss of life and money and may help you consider getting a ride to rehab if you risk drinking the day you check in.

Alcohol affects your brain in ways that limit what you can do safely behind the wheel – alcohol reduces brain function, causes impaired judgment, and slows muscles coordination.

Once alcohol enters the bloodstream, it can be measured by Blood Alcohol Concentration or BAC. Once BAC reaches .08 grams of alcohol per deciliter of blood, the person risks severe impairment and may cause an accident. Plus, .08 is the legal limit for BAC while driving in all 50 states. But, even lower BAC levels can kill. In 2016, it was recorded that over 2,000 car fatalities involved BAC’s lower than the legal limit.

Before you make the decision to drive your own car to a rehabilitation center, it is important to have a sense of what to expect.

Rehabilitation Center Basics

Drug addiction is a complex disease that requires intensive treatment with many components. Treatment is also given in many different settings and may determine whether you can drive your own car or not. In the United States, it is estimated that over 14,500 rehabilitation centers provide specialized drug treatment.

Rehab centers may include:

  • Counseling
  • Case management
  • Medication
  • Behavioral therapies

The goal of these treatments is to provide the skills and resources for persons suffering from addiction to return to their communities as productive contributors to family, the workplace, and society at large. Research shows that people who go to treatment, and stay in treatment, are likely to stop using drugs, no longer engage in criminal acts, and become better functioning in their daily lives.

But, the success of individual treatment depends on the scale of addiction, the person themselves, and how willing they are to get better. For example, if you’re wondering if you can drive your own car to a rehabilitation center only because you want an easy escape option, then you likely have the wrong mindset going in and may struggle with treatment.

The success of treatment relies on a person staying in treatment long enough to gain access to the full benefits the facility has to offer. Dipping out early, or hopping in your car in the middle of the night, is a way to fall deeper into the darkness of addiction, not dig yourself out.

It is imperative to remain in treatment for as long as necessary. How long you stay in treatment depends on your individual needs and particular problem. Research shows that those struggling with severe addiction need to stay in an inpatient rehab center for at least three months in order to fully change drug-seeking habits. For successful treatment, it is basically the longer the better. Since addiction is an illness, it requires the constant care and treatment of other illnesses demand.

NIDA - Drug Addiction Treatment in the United States

NIDA - Drugged Driving

NHTSA - Drunk Driving

NIDA - How Effective is Drug Addiction Treatment?

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