I want to get my friend into a drug rehab program, but I can't afford an in-patient center. Should I enroll him in an online program like eGetgoing, or is that like putting a Band-Aid on a severed limb?
Just as Band-Aids have their place in medicine, so, too, do the eGetgoings of the world, which offer virtual group sessions and one-on-one counseling chats. "The growing evidence is that they work, but they don't work all the time," says H. Westley Clark, director of the federal Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. "But that's no surprise—nothing works all the time for everybody." One eGetgoing study found that 85 percent of the group's clients were still sober nine months after participation.
Online programs are generally geared toward people who've already done a spin through treatment and are looking for a way to support their newfound sobriety. After all, a Web site can't force you to dry out the way a residential program can. If this is your friend's first, brutal visit to rock bottom, he'd likely be better off getting some real hands-on care. Your state's substance-abuse agency may be able to offer leads on low-cost or free assessment services. If you still can't find something affordable—or if your friend simply won't go—you might encourage a visit to the closest 12-step meeting. He may find some wisdom down in one of those church basements, and it won't cost a dime.
Original Link: http://www.wired.com/techbiz/people/magazine/17-03/st_kia