The success rate involved in drug detox programs relies to a great degree on how deeply addicted the individual is, the length of time the individual has been abusing drugs, and the number of drugs involved. Longer terms of use, as well as a greater number of drugs involved negatively affect the rate of recovery. However, a higher success rate can be expected if drug detox occurs when the individual has less experience with drugs and fewer drugs are involved. (This is probably because longer and more complex users have done more chemical damage to their systems.) Poly-drug users may even manage a certain degree of success but in the long run are more likely to request readmission. They are simply more likely to "fall off the wagon," which is understandable, given their chemistry. Inpatient medical withdrawal management is crucial to success. The potential risk factors associated with recovery after drug detox are targeted especially by follow-up programs which give social support, mostly patterned after Alcoholics Anonymous. There are short term skills which must be learned; there are long term skills which must be learned as well. It takes the integration of all these skills and therapies in order for the drug addicted individual to learn how to handle sobriety. It does involve a complete life-style change in many cases.

Drug detox is only the first step.

It may take months or years to completely get the drug out of the system. (Some drugs reside in fat cells and are practically impossible to completely eliminate.) Frequently the individual's chemistry is so compromised that medical therapy is required for the rest of the patient's life. However, even if this is the case, with adequate support, training and therapy, even former addicts dependent on drug therapies can develop a healthy ongoing lifestyle leading to a healthy and positive outcome.