Drug and Alcohol Detox Clinics in Rhode Island

A brief guide to Rhode Island detox clinics and the laws and regulations that set standards. What can you expect during detox? Where can you find help? More here.

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ARTICLE OVERVIEW: This article explains what to expect and how detox is regulated in Rhode Island.


What is Medical Detox?

Medical detox is the management drug or alcohol withdrawal. The treatment allows you to quit drinking or using safely in a supervised environment. Detox can help:

  • Address painful withdrawal symptoms
  • Lessen the intensity of symptoms
  • Prevent relapse

Detox can be the first step to a new life. However, medical detox alone does not guarantee sobriety. It should be followed by an immediate entry into inpatient or outpatient treatment program.

Detoxing in Rhode Island

In Rhode Island, there are laws and regulations to ensure that detox clinics are safe. For example, detox services can only be provided by state licensed medical professionals in a licensed clinic. The Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals, the BHDDH, is the single state authority that monitors this type of substance use treatment. [1] The main goal is to ensure quality treatment and recovery support throughout the state.

Every detox clinic in Rhode Island must be licensed and follow the rules, regulations, and standards as defined in Rhode Island General Laws section 40.1-24-1(h).[2] For example, every detox clinic should have licensed and trained staff, competent to provide clinical or medical service. Further, at least one register nurse and one supervising physician should be available at all times.

How Does Detox in Rhode Island Work?

Every detox program, inpatient or outpatient, follows the same basic protocol. The basic steps for alcohol and drug detox clinics in RI are as follows.

STEP 1. Assessment and admission. When you enter a detox clinic, you are assessed. Your medical history and substance abuse history helps a licensed physician to develop a customized detox program and supervise the whole withdrawal process trying to minimize the side effects of withdrawal. After assessment, a treatment plan is developed.

STEP 2. Medical detox process. Trained staff will provide you with care and medications to help alleviate unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

STEP 3. Counseling services. Family or group counseling is provided.

STEP 4. Discharge and continuum of services. After discharge, you are referred to another level of services to ensure a long- lasting recovery. [3]

Inpatient Rhode Island Detox Centers

Inpatient detox is a short-term hospitalization in a certified clinic.These clinics offer 24/7 housing and treatment. So, you’ll need to pack an overnight bag and stay in the clinic during treatment. Why would you want to go to an inpatient center?

Inpatient detox clinics offer a safe environment. Round-the-clock medical supervision and care can reduce the risk of complications and relapse.

In Rhode Island, the medical protocol for detox is carried out by professionals such as primary care physicians, psychiatrists, pediatricians, psychologists, social workers, counselors, and supervised by a medical director. Additionally, each inpatient detox clinic should follow the state’s policies and procedures that describe admission, continuing care, and discharge criteria specific to the type of residential setting.

The length of stay will be individualized and depends on the severity of your case and your personal response to detox. Likewise,each facility has different pricing, but most programs will accept state health insurance that can cover some of the cost of the treatment process.

The general protocol for inpatient detox in Rhode Island includes:

1. Admission and Assessment.Within 24 hours of admission, licensed medical professional must perform and document a complete medical history and physical examination.Within 72 hours of admission, a biopsychosocial assessment must be completed and documented, as well as an initial individualized treatment plan addressing short-term detoxification goals.

2. Detox process.You’ll be assigned a primary counselor who will follow your progress during detox. Also, a supervising physician and registered nurse will be available at all times. At this level, you will be provided with professional care and treatment that includes administration of prescribed medications. Other services available include:

  • Counseling
  • Laboratory
  • Psychiatric
  • Psychological
  • Toxicology

3. Discharge or continuum of care. After the detox program is completed, you will either be discharged or transferred to another level of care, outpatient or long term residential treatment. That will depend on the severity of your addiction and the willingness to dedicate to a long-term recovery.The longer you stay in the treatment process, the more opportunities you have for success.

Outpatient Rhode Island Detox Centers

Outpatient detox does not require an overnight stay at the facility, but you must spend enough time in treatment to learn and apply the tools that prevent relapse and medical and psychological complications. For the first two months of treatment, patients are required to attend the clinic daily. So, this type of outpatient treatment is a perfect fit if you do not have a severe addiction.

Every outpatient detox center in Rhode Island must follow state policies and procedures for treatment. For example, medical protocol for outpatient detox must be provided by professionals such as primary care physicians, psychiatrists, pediatricians, psychologists, social workers, counselors, all supervised by a medical director.The basic protocol of an outpatient detox program primarily consists of the following steps.

STEP 1. Assessment. Before admission you’ll get a complete physical examination by the licensed program physician, including a blood test, in order to determine the need for detox.

STEP 2. Admission. Within 72 hours of admission, a complete biopsychosocial assessment will be completed and documented, and initial individualized treatment plan will be developed. You’ll be assigned a primary counselor who will follow your progress.

STEP 3. Discharge. Individuals who have completed the medical detox program and are stable enough will be discharged. Depending on the case, you might be asked to follow a prescription medication plan, or not. Many people continue with counseling. Also, follow-up contacts shall be provided as required by specific programs or by state law.

Involuntary Treatment in Rhode Island

Rhode Island laws allows for involuntary commitment, but only for individuals suffering from alcoholism. The involuntary commitment laws ensure certain rights to every person committed, such as the right to an attorney, the right to petition for an evidence of the reason for the commitment, and to choose he physician that will examine you.

Under R.I. GEN. LAWS § 23-1.10-12 Rhode Island courts can order emergency treatment in a public treatment facility for alcoholics who are:

  • A danger to themselves or others.
  • Impaired by the continuous abuse of alcohol.
  • Unable to make rational and informed decisions. [4]

This limitation has been criticized because the need of treatment for illicit drug abuse is real, and should be open and available to everyone.

How can you get started on the process?

Any responsible person such as a certified physician, spouse, guardian,relative, or psychiatrist in Rhode Island can file a petition to the court to commit a person to an involuntary treatment.Within three days before the petition is filed, a licensed physician completes an examination to determine if there is a probable reason for the allegations, and the findings should be included in the petition. And, if the person refuses the medical examination, that too, should be included.

No later than 10 days after the petition is filed, the court will set up a hearing and will hear the testimony of the petitioner, the person that shall be committed and preferably the physician who has examined the person.If the court determines that there is enough evidence to support the allegations of the petition, the person will be committed to a treatment center for 30 days, or if there is a need, the court may order max two re-commitment for an additional 90 days. [5]

In Rhode Island, court ordered treatment has been proven to be an effective way to reduce addiction-related crimes and achieve long-term recovery.Court ordered treatment usually includes some combination of the following options:

  • Alternative therapies or holistic treatments
  • Cognitive treatment options
  • Counseling and group therapy
  • Dual diagnosis therapy and treatment
  • Exercise programs
  • Medical treatments
  • Nutritional plans
  • Personalized recovery plans

State Sponsored Detox in Rhode Island

The State of Rhode Island funds different treatment centers throughout the state. This helps people who don’t have enough resources to cover the costs for addiction treatment to be placed in a free treatment centers. If you need treatment, but can’t afford it, you can call the free Rhode Island state-funded and alcohol treatment programs helpline at 1-800-819-9973. You can find a list of agencies licensed to provide substance abuse treatment services in Rhode Island here.

In order to get into a state-funded drug rehab, you need to express your desire to do the program and show initiative in your recovery, and find yourself a treatment program.

These types of treatment programs are closely connected to the court system and can have many court mandated clients. Rhode Island has also develop a program for first-time low – level offenders to enter a substance abuse court ordered treatment program as an alternative to a jail sentence. One of the drawbacks of these programs is the long waiting list.

While enrolled in a state-funded drug rehab, you might be given increasing responsibilities as you work your way through the program. These responsibilities and chores help to keep the cost down so the program can help more people in Rhode Island receive treatment.

RI Detox for Veterans

Many veterans have problems with substance use disorders. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides addiction treatment survives for former soldiers. But, you need to have an active VA health care plan to get access to those services.

Do you need immediate help?

Call a Veterans Affairs A hotline:

  • National Hotline dedicated for supporting Veterans: 2-1-1
  • National Veteran Crisis Hotline: 1-800-273-8255 (press “1”)
  • VA’s general information hotline 1-800-827-1000

Additionally, visit the official VA Rhode Island to find more information on addiction treatment or check out this SUD locator.

Detox Can Save Lives

Can detox help you?


Since detox helps in managing withdrawal symptoms, and stabilizes your body, we can easily report that detox can save lives. Additionally, medical complications are possible when you try to quit substances, so never detox alone. Always seek medical assistance that provides medical supervision 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Don’t know where to start?

Call us to learn about your detox options in Rhode Island.

Don’t wait until it’s too late!

Do you still have any questions on detox clinics in this state? Feel free to post them in the comments section at the end. We do our best to respond to comments personally and promptly.

Reference Sources: [1] BHDDH: The Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals
[2] Rhode Island General Laws section 40.1-24-1(h)
[4] R.I. GEN. LAWS § 23-1.10-12
[5] National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws: Involuntary commitment for individuals with a substance use disorder or alcoholism.
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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