The Ethical Treatment of Addicts

ethics ethical treatment

What Are Ethics?

Ethics are generally observed as the group of moral standards that govern the behavior of an individual or a group. Ethics are concerned with the differentiation between right and wrong when it comes to humanity and human action. Most of the time, upholding an adequate set of ethical standards is not all too difficult. As long as we keep the well-being of others in the forefront of our minds, and abide by long-standing laws and societal expectations, we can quite easily stay on the path of proper ethical conduct.

Ethics in the Treatment Industry

Interestingly enough, however, the issue of ethics is not always so black and white. Take the addiction recovery industry, for example. Client welfare, potentially the most crucial component of adequate treatment, is often entirely overlooked. Industry standards have undergone a major shift over the course of the past several years, what with the recent surge of illegitimate practice fueled by sheer profit motive. Unqualified and inexperienced individuals are opening up inpatient treatment facilities left and right, finding that a few big white vans and unknowing clients are all that is truly necessary to milk insurance policies for all that they are worth. New restrictions and laws preventing such illegitimate practices from evolving are being put into place, focused on prioritizing the ethical treatment of addicts. More accreditations and certifications are being required, and shoddy facilities are beginning to be shut down. Still, many establishments exist that blatantly favor monetary gain over comprehensive and effective treatment. This issue contributes immensely to the persisting issue of a lack of ethical treatment within the recovery industry.

Another contributing factor in persistent disregard for ethical standards may revolve around the societal misconception of drug addiction and alcoholism. Throughout the early 1900s, addicts and alcoholics were committed to insane asylums and subjected to archaic and inhumane forms of treatment – such as electroshock therapy. Since then, those afflicted with substance dependency issues have been struggling relentlessly to break through restrictive social stigmas. While the progressive and non-discriminatory nature of this disease has been gaining more widespread attention over the course of the past decade or so, there is still much work to be done in the realm of awareness and comprehension. Addicts are often treated unjustly by society at large, and sadly, this ill-informed mishandling sometimes bleeds into the world of addiction treatment. Thus a combination of misinformation and prospective monetary gain has lead to an era of the improper ethical treatment of those afflicted with addictive disorders.

Client Welfare – The First Industry Standard

Addiction professionals must consistently act for the good of others – namely their clients and the family members of their clients. In doing so, they will exercise a high level of respect, insight, and sensitivity. It must be understood that the primary purpose of the addiction professional is to protect the welfare of his or her clients, and that it is his or her responsibility to oversee this regardless of who is paying the client’s fees.

Take a look at a further breakdown of this standard, as provided by The National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors.

  1. The addiction professional understands and supports actions that will assist clients to a better quality of life, greater freedom and true independence.
  2. The addiction professional will support clients in accomplishing what they can readily do for themselves. Likewise, the addiction professional will not insist on pursuing treatment goals without incorporating what the client perceives as good and necessary.
  3. The addiction professional understands that suffering is unique to a specific individual and not of some generalized or abstract suffering, such as might be found in the understanding of the disorder. On that basis, the action taken to relieve suffering must be uniquely suited to the suffering individual and not simply some universal prescription.
  4. Services will be provided without regard to the compensation provided by the client or by a third party and shall render equally appropriate services to individuals whether they are paying a reduced fee or a full fee or are waived from fees.

Clearly, it is the job of the addiction specialist to dedicate him or herself to bettering the life of the client. In some cases, this means suggesting that the client be transferred to an unrelated facility for more comprehensive or specialized treatment. This means treating the client as an individual, and not as ‘just another addict’. And finally, this means treating each client with an equal and unmatched amount of compassion and attention, regardless of how services are being compensated for. At Next Chapter, we take each of these points into careful consideration. If we feel a client would benefit more from a different program of recovery, we do our best to set him up with that program. We treat each of our men on a highly individualized basis, meeting weekly as a staff to thoroughly discuss the progress of each specific patient. Regardless of whether one of our men is paying out-of-pocket or is attending our program on full scholarship, we provide the same consistent and consummate level of care.

Our Code of Ethics – Next Chapter Treatment

One of the many components of our addiction treatment program that sets it apart from the rest is our detailed code of ethics. The ethical treatment of clients and their families is our top priority, and we pride ourselves on the maintenance of an unmatched level of honesty and integrity when it comes to treating those in need. For more information regarding our specific code of ethics, please feel free to give us a call at 561-563-8407. We look forward to speaking with you soon.