It could be argued that the only measure of drug rehabilitation success is whether or not the individual uses drugs. While that would certainly be one valid measure, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has developed other milestones for measuring a positive outcome from drug rehabilitation.
In 2011, SAMHSA published a new working definition of recovery. They noted four major dimensions that support a life in recovery:
Health – includes living in a physically and emotionally healthy way
Home – a stable and safe place to live
Purpose – meaningful daily activities, such as job, school, family or creativity; plus the resources to participate in society
Community – relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship and hope.
If these characteristics don’t exist or if the person in recovery isn’t working toward them or at least has hope of developing them, then sobriety is hard to maintain. These characteristics were the subject of a followup survey of graduates from the Narconon Eslov rehab center.
The followup method was a carefully tested Routine Outcome Monitoring questionnaire designed for use at Narconon centers but suitable for any drug rehab. By phoning graduates from a two-year period and using this questionnaire, it was possible to learn that 98% had been arrest-free, 100% had been incarceration-free, 87% had positive relations with their families, 75% were working or enrolled in school.
The survey also showed that 59% percent of all graduates had been drug abstinent since graduation and of the number who had experienced a relapse in the first six months, 80% had been abstinent since then.
The Narconon program emphasizes the learning of life skills that provide a foundation for each person who completes the program and returns home after graduation. These life skills guide a person’s decisions and even provide tools for a person to get back on a sober path if they wavered from their decision to stay sober.