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Traveling Out of State for Rehab: Is It Worth It?

  • For many people, the best possible treatment for their unique situation may not exist in the same city or even the same state, making out-of-state drug rehab a necessity.
  • Beginning your recovery in a new environment may be what you need to set the stage for your new life after addiction.
  • Putting some distance between yourself and the people and places that were part of your active addiction can decrease the likelihood that you will leave or relapse when you have a tough day.
  • Permitting yourself to focus on nothing but recovery can give you the time and space you need to do the work of starting over.


There are many reasons why you might find that going out of state for treatment is the best choice. For example, if you live in a rural area, and there is no access to drug rehab, it may make as much sense to go out of state as it does to travel to the closest city for care.

If you have already been to all the drug rehabs in your area, and they have not proven to be effective, it may seem like a waste of time and money to go back yet again.

Additionally, you may find that many of the current clients are people you know well and have used with, so it may not feel like a safe place to go and get help. True growth in recovery comes through honesty, sharing, taking part in activities and therapies, and working through things with the support of peers. If you are fearful of judgment, you may be less likely to open up and commit to the process or treatment.


A New Environment

The simple act of changing up the scenery and potentially heading into a different climate can set the tone for the journey you are about to take. This shift can be psychological and slight, but it’s a micro-step toward the new perspective that will carry you through the tough times in treatment and beyond.

Time to Transition Mentally

Even the act of traveling from home to the drug addiction treatment program can be a step in the process of creating a positive mindset for recovery. Many people enter treatment directly after an intervention or right after, recognizing the immediate need for help due to an overdose or other medical emergency.
Taking the time to get on a plane or drive for long distances gives you the chance to continue your forward progression physically while pausing mentally to process where you are going and what you intend to gain from the experience. It is through this process that you can set your intentions and begin to wrap your mind around the next steps to take toward recovery.

No Known Suppliers

When you travel to a new place, you automatically remove all the dealers and connections you are familiar with. Should you suddenly feel the urge to leave the program and relapse — which is not at all uncommon — you will not have people you know waiting outside the door of the drug rehab ready to hand you drugs. Not knowing your way around and not knowing the people in the new place can be a protective shield, encouraging you to stay in treatment and push through the difficult times.

Distance From Stressors

In addition to being far away from the usual sources of drugs and alcohol, choosing an out-of-state drug rehab means you are also far away from many of the stressors that contributed to your substance use disorder. If you feel pressure at work and turn to drugs or alcohol to manage stress, that will not be an issue if you are hundreds or thousands of miles away in treatment.

If you are in a tense relationship with your spouse, your children, or your friends, you can completely remove yourself from that situation and take a break while you focus on recovery. If bills are piling up higher every time you go to the mailbox, you can take a step back when you put distance between you and your home. When you get to a point where you can have visitors, you can minimize contact with people who might come and disrupt your focus.

A Space To Focus On Nothing But Recovery

When you are in a new place with new people and a completely fresh slate, you have the mental space to turn your attention to the here and now. Being able to be present and open with your therapists and medical professionals is a big part of recovery. When you are free from the stressors of home, your physical and mental state take precedence. You may find it easier to do the work on yourself that is needed.

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Yes. Out-of-state drug rehab programs are not right for everyone. Some situations that may preclude heading out of state for treatment include:

Legal Difficulties

If you are on probation or parole and you must be available to meet with your parole or probation officer and show up to court when needed, then heading out of town for long periods for any reason is a no-go, even if it is to help you get better. Similarly, if you are looking for a drug rehab program as part of a drug court case, it may be necessary to stay local.

Child Custody Issues

If you are in the middle of a custody battle or if you are heavily involved in your child’s life and attempting to prove to the court that you are a fit parent, it may be better for you to stay closer to home. Not only will you be better able to manage unexpected issues that are common in custody cases, but you may be able to maintain contact with your child and bring in staff members to testify on your behalf if needed.

Work Restraints

Though many people lose their jobs during active addiction, others are at the executive level or own their businesses and can’t completely step away from work for a long period. In some cases, if it is not possible to manage work from afar, it may be a better fit to find a drug rehab program that is closer to home. Additionally, because you may need to work on learning how to stay sober at work, it may be helpful to undergo treatment with the support of professionals while staying connected to the workplace.

Medical Care

If you are working with local doctors to manage a chronic disease or illness, it may not be good for you to uproot yourself and move across the country, even if for a brief time. In fact, it is usually recommended that people with chronic conditions allow medical professionals at the substance abuse treatment program the ability to take direction from their primary and specialty physicians to ensure that medical care is not disrupted by treatment and that medications taken for addiction are not contraindicated.

Family Relationships

If you have an elderly or ailing relative whom you do not want to be far from; if you have a loving and supportive spouse at home who wants to work with you on creating the right kind of home life that supports long-term recovery when you leave treatment; or if you have other relatives who would like to work on supporting you to the best of their ability after treatment and cannot afford to travel regularly to an out-of-state rehab, it may be best for you to undergo treatment closer to home.


Few people immediately jump to the idea of heading to another state for drug addiction treatment. Instead, they think of the programs they know about and are familiar with that are usually close to home. But when you begin to understand that not all drug addiction rehabs are created alike and that every individual needs treatment that is tailored to their needs, you will see the need to consider all the options you have available to you before jumping into the closest or cheapest rehab program.


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