People who regularly use alcohol or other drugs may develop drug dependence, resulting in significant withdrawal symptoms when drug use is reduced or stopped. Admission to a detoxification (‘detox’) unit for a supervised withdrawal is often recommended, to safely and more comfortably manage these withdrawal symptoms in a supported environment.

Common questions asked by people entering treatment are:

  • Will I be allowed to enter detox if I have used alcohol or other drugs in the day or days leading up to detox?
  • Will I be refused entry to detox if I attend drug-affected?
  • Should I try to reduce or stop my drug use before attending detox?

The short answer is you should come as you are. Going to detox is an understandably big step, which can be stressful. We know people use drugs for different reasons, including to numb and cope with distressing feelings and thoughts. It’s not surprising then that some people may drink or use other drugs before arriving at a detox.

If you use drugs before attending detox:

People will understand if you have used drugs before being admitted to detox, and this will not affect the quality of your care or your ability to recover. Avoid using more of any drug than you usually do though, because you could experience a negative reaction or become unwell if your body does not tolerate this.

If you are thinking of reducing or stopping drug use before detox:

If you significantly reduce or stop your drug use before presenting to detox, you will be subjecting yourself to withdrawal symptoms before you have professional support available to manage this. Please do not do this without medical advice; as in some circumstances this can be dangerous.