Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does addiction or substance use disorder mean?

    Simply put, someone with a substance use disorder (addiction) involving alcohol and drugs has a complex brain disease that causes people to become dependent on those substances. People who are dependent have cravings so strong that they keep on using the substances even when devastating things happen: loss of jobs, homes, children and partners; involvement with the criminal justice or child welfare systems. Use disorders are treatable, and in some cases medication can help, along with counseling and other kinds of treatment.

    * Note: Language describing healthcare issues evolves over time. This is why you are beginning to see “addiction” replaced by “substance use disorder.” Changes in language around alcohol, drug, and mental health treatment can help reduce stigma. One of the sources for changes is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the latest edition is called the DSM-V or DSM 5) which is updated periodically and used by healthcare providers.

    Source: Two of the many National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) brochures: “Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment” and “Drugs, Brains, and Behavior – The Science of Addiction.”

    A more formal description of addiction (substance use disorder):

    “Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors. Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.”

    Source: American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM).

  • What does it mean to be “recovering?”

    One useful way to think of what goes into reaching recovery is to consider these four areas:

    • Health: overcoming or managing one’s disease(s) and living in a physically and emotionally healthy way
    • Home: maintaining a safe, stable place to live
    • Purpose: carrying out meaningful independent daily activities, such as a job, school, and taking care of family
    • Community: building relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope

    Source: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

  • How do I know if I need outpatient or residential treatment?

    When you connect with CODA, we will talk with you and listen closely to learn about your health, your life,  and your hopes for treatment, then help you make the best choice. We will work with you, each step of the way, and provide the services you need to live a healthy life.

  • How do people get services at CODA?

    Some people come to CODA when another healthcare provider refers them. Others learn of our services from county or state agencies. Still others come because a friend, family member, or co-worker was helped here. If you want to learn more about CODA and how we can help you or someone you know, contact a program location near you or call our call center in Portland: 1-855-SEE-CODA (855-733-2632).

  • How long do I have to wait to get treatment in a CODA program?

    In most cases, our Outpatient and Opioid Treatment Programs offer same/next day appointments. The wait for residential services usually starts at two weeks. Women who are pregnant, people using drugs intravenously, or people who are transferring from a higher level of care are given priority for residential programs. We have many locations. Contact our Admissions call center at 855-SEE-CODA (855-733-2632).

  • May I go to a CODA program in a county other than the one in which I live?

    Yes. In most cases you can get treatment from any CODA location. There are some exceptions–some programs are funded to serve people who live in specific places. When you contact CODA, we will explain all your choices. If we do not have a program that fits your needs, we will tell you which of those Community Partners offer appropriate services.

  • If I relapse during outpatient treatment, will I be kicked out of the program?

    No. CODA’s mission is to help people recover. Relapse is a part of the addictive illness for many people and is not a failure of willpower or some kind of moral weakness. If you relapse, your counselor and other CODA staff will work with you to identify the reasons for your substance use and help you create a plan to avoid using in the future. We’ll be with you every step of the way.

  • Does everyone need detoxification first?

    No. Although this is often described as a front door to treatment, and many people do need this level of care before they can move forward in their recovery, there are many ways to enter treatment, and this is just one of them.

  • What are addiction medicines and medication assisted treatment?

    This refers to the medicines used to treat people who are addicted to substances. Some medicines used in this treatment are: methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone.

    For more on this subject, see this brochure from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): “Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction.” You may also find these resources from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to be useful: “Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment” and “Drugs, Brains, and Behavior – The Science of Addiction.”

  • I’m afraid I will get addicted to methadone. Is that possible?

    When you take methadone every day, your body becomes dependent on it. Your body depends on it because your brain is no longer making chemicals in the same way it did before you began using opioids. This means you may have withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking methadone abruptly. This does not mean you’re addicted to it. It means that the methadone is keeping your body in a stable place so you can focus on your recovery.

  • I’m pregnant. Can I get medicines to help me get off drugs?

    Yes. If you are using opioids, it is recommended that you receive methadone while you’re pregnant. It is proven to be safe for your baby, and it is effective in helping you abstain from opioids. Because we are confident that this treatment is safe, and because it is so important to the health of your baby, we have procedures in place to make sure you get into treatment as quickly as possible. You cannot take naltrexone (Revia or Vivitrol) while you are pregnant.

    Project Nurture

    CODA’s Project Nurture, a partnership with OHSU Family Medicine at Richmond and Health Share of Oregon, supports pregnant patients who are in medication-assisted treatment. Project Nurture provides prenatal services; pregnancy, delivery, and breastfeeding support, along with healthy-baby visits for a year (including immunizations for your baby). For more information, call CODA’s Admissions call center at 855-SEE-CODA (855-733-2632).

  • Is my information confidential?

    Yes, your information is confidential and will not be shared without your permission. Federal and state law and CODA policy ensure this. The exception to this policy is a situation in which a person’s health emergency requires that we communicate with medical providers or others close to the person.

  • I see that CODA has a research department. Can I participate in studies?

    Yes. CODA Research is frequently recruiting for study participants. We generally participate in two kinds of studies: (1) surveys about your opinions, beliefs, or practices and (2) clinical trials. Participants in any clinical trial are chosen based on eligibility. For example, in a study about medication treatments for opioid dependence, we would recruit participants with a dependence on heroin, prescription pain medications, etc. All of our studies provide you with clear explanations of your rights and risks for participating. If you are interested in participating in one of CODA’s research studies, click here.

  • I want to make a difference. How can I contribute to CODA?

    There are many ways to join us in the work we do to help people live healthier lives. Donations of any amount, as well as gifts of goods and services, are always welcome. For more information on giving to CODA, see our Donations page.