Here is a reasonable model of contemporary treatment with three stages. I have made it a point to separate these stages out for several reasons but in particular – because each stage is designed to do something quite different and because, what you as legislators care about – treatment that leads to sustained positive outcomes - is contingent upon effective performance in the earlier stages of care.
It is very much like a school model in two ways. First, education is a continuing process and so is treatment. Second, you can’t do well in high school if you have not learned what you need to know and developed the skills you need in elementary and junior high school. This is also true in addiction treatment. Also – please notice that the duration of these stages should NOT be determined by time constraints but rather by performance milestones – meeting the objectives of the early stages of care should qualify you for the next stages. Finally, different parts of the education system focus on different skills and developmental issues – again, this is true in addiction treatment. Let’s discuss these three stages.