24-Hour Substance Abuse Residential Treatment Services

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

Page updated on May 9, 2019 at 11:37 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 are withdrawing from alcohol or drugs and works with them to accept 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 a social environment that enables persons to learn about the effects of drugs and alcohol on their lives and to develop plans for the next step in their recovery process. The center also works with individuals with a co-occurring mental health problem.

    Through the Drunk in Public Diversion Program, persons arrested for drunk in public may be taken to the center in lieu of incarceration.

    Becoming Involved with Treatment at ARTC 

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

    • Voluntarily: Persons seeking treatment for themselves may call or walk in.
    • Referral: A person in need of treatment may be referred by an employer, therapist or other organization.  Concerned family members may inquire about treatment so that they may refer or bring their loved one.
    • Police Diversion: Alexandria police may bring a person under the influence of drugs or alcohol to ARTC instead of to the jail.

    ARTC Clients

    ARTC is available for:

    • Men and women 18 or older.
    • Residents of the City of Alexandria or persons who are homeless in Alexandria.
    • Persons under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs or in withdrawal, and who, once detoxified, are able to move independently in their usual manner, care for themselves and communicate wants and needs to staff, in English or another language.
    • Persons free of severe psychiatric and medical problems.
    • Persons willing to participate in an agreed upon plan of care.

    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 ensure that the person is medically and behaviorally stable.  After completing medical observation, an intake will be done to record background information, personal history, needs and strengths.  All information is kept strictly confidential. 


    ARTC's treatment is a three-week clinical program in which participants live in a community of staff and other consumers receiving care. The program 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 educational counselors.  All are dedicated professionals specializing in substance abuse 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.
    • Methadone 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.