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Should You Travel for Treatment?

Written by Rob Alston

& Medically Reviewed by Denise-Marie Griswold, LCAS

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Last Updated - 1/19/2021

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Updated 01/19/2021

Deciding where to seek treatment can be difficult. If you are considering traveling for treatment, take time to consider the advantages and disadvantages before you decide.

Making the decision to seek treatment for substance use is a huge step forward. While a positive step, it can also be a very confusing and complicated step. With treatment facilities across the country, it may seem natural to go to the one closest to home. However, many people choose to go to out of state rehab centers.

Benefits of Traveling to Out of State Rehab Centers

Out of state rehab centers are a popular choice for many reasons. While some may choose out of state drug rehab due to insurance coverage or limited local choices, there are many reasons that people prefer this route.

A Fresh Start

The idea of a fresh start in a new location is very appealing to many people. While a new environment alone is unlikely to lead to recovery, for some people the physical change in the environment can be a motivator to make changes.

Distance Between Yourself & Triggers

A person is likely to have many relapse triggers. Some people may choose to put physical distance between their recovery and their triggers. In most cases, a person will eventually return home but the initial distance can prevent a person from returning to substance use while they are still gaining relapse prevention skills.

Reduced Temptation to Leave

In many cases, a person voluntarily chooses to attend rehab. Even in cases where a person has been court-ordered to treatment, they may receive care at voluntary rehab centers. Voluntary rehab means that a person has the ability to leave if they should choose to do so. Seeking treatment in another state can reduce the temptation to leave before completing treatment.


While confidentiality applies to substance use treatment, many people worry about the possible repercussions if others find out they are in treatment. To provide a stronger sense of privacy, many people prefer out of state treatment. In an out of state addiction treatment facility, the chance of being recognized is greatly reduced.

Potential Disadvantages of Traveling for Rehab

Many areas have high-quality local drug rehab centers which may be a positive alternative to traveling for treatment. To determine if a local drug abuse treatment center is the best option, the disadvantages of traveling need to be carefully considered.

Difficult For Family To Visit

Family involvement in addiction treatment is highly encouraged and in some programs even required. While family participation in addiction treatment can occur over the phone, it is much more difficult for family members to visit if the treatment center is far from home.

Local Support & Aftercare May Not Be Available After Treatment

Substance abuse aftercare services are an important part of ensuring long term recovery. Many facilities even have their own aftercare services available. However, if a person travels for treatment, they are unlikely to be able to take advantage of this continuity of care. Even if a facility does not have its own aftercare program, the discharge planning staff is likely more familiar with local services. As a result, a person seeking services may not receive a referral to the highest quality aftercare program.

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Making the Choice to Travel or Stay Local

Making the decision between local drug rehab and rehab out of state requires careful consideration. It may be helpful to consider which of the advantages and disadvantages listed are the most important. A person who is highly concerned about being tempted to leave treatment may do better in an out of state drug rehab while a person whose family is unable to travel may prefer a local treatment facility. Ultimately, the choice is highly personal and will depend greatly on a person’s priorities.

Beyond the decision of whether to travel or stay local, a person seeking treatment should consider whether a program will be a good fit. Research treatment options and take the time to find a program that seems like a good match. Some companies have many different facilities and can help you identify the best choice for your circumstances. For example, the Recovery Village Palm Beach at Baptist Health has programs both across the country and locally in the heart of South Florida. If you are considering treatment either locally or out of state, contact a representative who can help you explore your options. 

View Sources

Pullen, Erin & Oser, Carrie. “Barriers to Substance Abuse Treatment in Rural and Urban Communities: A Counselor Perspective.” Substance Use and Misuse, June 1, 2015. Accessed September 30, 2019.

Cunningham, John A.; Sobell, Linda C.; Sobell, Mark A.; Agrawal, Sangeeta; & Toneatto, Tony. “Barriers to treatment: Why alcohol and drug abusers delay or never seek treatment.” Addictive Behaviors, June 1993.  Accessed September 30, 2019.