Like other kinds of medical facilities, drug treatment centers have an obligation to provide a certain standard of care. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean they always do.
From understaffing to underfunding, there are a host of factors working against many rehab clinics. As a result, patients don’t always receive the attention they deserve. Over time, such neglect can prove disastrous for their physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing (not to mention their recovery).
And at facilities where the employees are neither vetted nor trained properly, patients can be downright abused. Sexual abuse is especially common at drug treatment centers because patients form such close relationships with their providers.
Even if a patient consented to—or initiated—a sexual encounter, though, it would likely be considered assault on the part of the provider who engaged. Under Section 2C:14-2 of the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice, for example, patients who enroll in a program as a condition of probation are deemed incapable of giving consent to those who have “supervisory or disciplinary power” over them.
If your loved one is currently staying at a drug treatment center by choice or court order, keep an eye out for the following warning signs of neglect or abuse:
1. Unexplained Injuries
Injuries that the facility can’t—or won’t—explain are often a sign of physical abuse. Examples include bruises, lacerations, and fractures. Depending on where these injuries are located, they may also be indicative of sexual abuse.
Hospitalizations may highlight a problem, as well. Generally speaking, drug treatment centers are equipped to handle most of the complications that come with detoxing, so when a patient is sent to the hospital, it’s worth investigating.
2. Dramatic Weight Loss
Excessive weight gain is the norm for those in the earliest stages of recovery. While some patients may not gain too much, it’s highly unusual for those participating in a rehabilitation program to lose a dramatic amount of weight. If your loved one appears to be wasting away, they may not be getting adequate attention—or balanced meals—from the staff.
3. Poor Hygiene
Although hygiene isn’t necessarily a priority during drug treatment, patients should keep up with basic bathing and grooming once they’ve finished detoxing. Depending on their condition, some may need help with such tasks, and if they’re not getting it, it will eventually become apparent in their disheveled appearance.
Poor hygiene could also be indicative of sexual abuse. It’s not uncommon for those who have been violated to neglect themselves in an attempt to deter the perpetrator from future encounters.
While it can be necessary to keep some patients from instigating altercations with others, total isolation opens the door for all kinds of abuse. Without witnesses, staff members with bad intentions can get away with considerably more.
5. Withdrawing from Social Situations
Neglect and abuse can take a toll on mental health, especially in those who are under a lot of stress and therefore more vulnerable than usual. If your loved one no longer wishes to engage with friends and loved ones, something may have happened that has left them feeling depressed and anxious.
Speak with a Morristown Drug Treatment Center Abuse Attorney
If you think your loved one was neglected or abused while undergoing treatment for a substance use disorder, turn to The Law Offices of Joseph S. Scura. For more than a decade, our firm has been advocating for victims and their families across New Jersey. Call 973-832-0841 or use our Online Contact Form to set up a free initial consultation with a drug treatment center abuse lawyer in Morristown.