24-Hour Substance Abuse Residential Treatment Services

Information about DCHS' 24-hour substance abuse residential treatment services.

Page updated on Mar 20, 2020 at 11:13 AM

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    Alexandria Residential Treatment Center (ARTC)

    The Alexandria Residential Treatment Center (ARTC) provides a short-term treatment environment for persons who need structure and support to stop using alcohol or drugs and works with them to engage in ongoing treatment as appropriate. The program operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. ARTC supports persons in withdrawal from drugs and alcohol and provides an environment that enables individuals to look at the effects of drugs and alcohol on their lives and develop plans to enter or re-enter the recovery process. The center also works with individuals with co-occurring mental health concerns.

    Becoming Involved with Treatment at ARTC 

    There are several ways to enter ARTC's treatment program:

    • Voluntarily: Individuals wanting treatment for themselves are invited to simply call or walk in.
    • Referral: A person in need of treatment may be referred by an employer, therapist or other organization.  Friends or family members may also refer or bring their loved one to ARTC.
    • Police Diversion: Alexandria police may bring a person under the influence of drugs or alcohol who has been arrested to ARTC instead of to the jail.

    ARTC Clients

    ARTC is a good treatment option if:

    • You are 18 or older.
    • You are a resident of the City of Alexandria or a person experiencing homelessness in Alexandria.
    • You are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs or in withdrawal, and, once detoxified, are able to move independently in your usual manner, care for yourself and communicate wants and needs to staff, in English or another language.
    • You do not need more intensive psychiatric and medical help.
    • You are willing to participate in an agreed upon plan of care to help you begin to improve your life situation.

    Starting the  Program

    Upon entering ARTC, a person goes to medical observation. This is a period of time, usually less than 24 hours, but up to three days, during which staff monitor to ensure that the person is medically and behaviorally stable.  After completing medical observation, an intake is done to record background information, personal history, needs and strengths.  All information is kept strictly confidential within the bounds of the law.


    ARTC's treatment is a short-term, structured and supportive clinical program in which participants live in a community with others with similar concerns. The program uses best practices and also includes a variety of innovative and traditional therapies that utilize art, writing, talking, drama and other activities. Participants are educated about the effects of drugs and alcohol on their bodies, minds, families and lives. As they complete the detoxification process, program participants work with staff to obtain referrals to other appropriate services and to plan their next steps toward recovery.    


    The team of staff at ARTC includes therapists, nurses and residential support counselors.  All are dedicated professionals specializing in substance use disorder treatment and areas such as chronic relapse and dual diagnosis. The team is dedicated to working with people who have struggled with substance use disorders for much or all of their lives.

    Finishing the Program 

    Upon completing substance use disorder residential treatment, ideally a person will continue with the recovery process through one or more of the following programs:

    • Substance Use Disorder Residential Treatment Phase II, a 30 day residential treatment program. Clients live in a therapeutic environment that includes education, outpatient substance use disorder treatment and 12-step meetings. Clients have 30 days of sober time before returning to the community, which gives them a solid start on their path to recovery.
    • Outpatient substance use disorder and mental health counseling.
    • Medication Assisted Treatment for persons addicted to certain narcotics.
    • Residential treatment in a group home.


    Payment is based on an individual’s family income and is determined on a sliding scale.  Nobody is denied services due to inability to pay.

    For more information about ARTC programs, call 703.746.3636.