Rehab in Other Countries

rehab abroad

The United States is far from the only country with a serious drug problem, and not enough resources to resolve it quickly. Drugs are getting stronger, making it more difficult for every country to keep up with their growing population living with addiction to drugs and alcohol. To combat the rising cost in the war on addiction and drugs, countries have implemented a variety of different strategies, including ones involving rehab.

Drug rehab facilities exist in most every country; what makes one center better than the other is the quality of care. Most of the major cities in the world have treatment for drug and alcohol addiction as an option, but in most cases all over the world, the treatment program simply isn’t effective enough for a person to go on without relapsing. While this may sound hopeless, some countries are stepping up to the challenge, and making the effort to do a better job of protecting vulnerable citizens from the risks of drug and alcohol addiction.  

It’s worth noting that a few religiously-affiliated organizations have opened clinics to treat people living with addiction to drugs and alcohol in other countries around the world. These treatment facilities are staffed by missionaries, often from outside of the country in which the facility is located. Nevertheless, these foreign-run facilities present another option for those in need of drug rehabilitation services.


rehab in other countries

China’s approach to drug addiction has, at times, been brutal: at one point, the use of any illicit drugs was an offense punishable by death. Since then, the government has changed their policies, choosing to focus on beating addiction. For centuries in China, the most popular illicit drug was opium. Wars were fought in China over opium, and money from the opium trade freely circulated in the Chinese economy of the past. Millennial drug users, though, are a little different: their drug palettes have discovered meth and heroin. From the world’s most fastidious opium consumer to its new title as, ‘World’s Largest Producer of Synthetic Opioid Components,’ the history of China’s relationship with drugs is tangled, and nuanced.

Much like the US, China has seen a rise in the number of synthetic opioid overdose deaths, as more of the young population invests in heroin, XTC, and meth. Ketamine, and anesthetic, is also taking off, both recreationally and as a date rape drug. If someone is arrested for drug abuse in China, they’re remanded to a drug rehabilitation facility. The problem with many of China’s drug rehab facilities is that there aren’t enough resources for patients to get the help that they need, and the staff’s service leaves something to be desired. Over a decade ago, the Chinese National government implemented a program to ensure that all rehab facilities pass minimum standards of care for each patient. This sounds like an excellent plan, of course, but it is important to remember that, though rehab is a gravely important service, rehab isn’t the source of the problem.

China’s populations who are vulnerable to drug addiction and abuse have a unique and unfortunate problem: China is a massive country located near several regions where some of the world’s top producers of raw drug materials are located. When we talk about global producers of raw drug materials and of the finished products themselves, we’re basically talking about two regions: The Golden Triangle, which includes Burma, Laos, and Thailand; and The Golden Crescent, which includes Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan. Thailand, despite slowly becoming a global hub for luxury rehab centers, is the home of Kratom, a naturally-occurring stimulant with effects that mirror cocaine.


It may surprise you to know that Thailand has many facilities dedicated to treating people living with addiction to drugs and alcohol. All over the country, rehab facilities have sprouted, and many of them are helping people everyday.

Thailand is the home of a hybrid monastery/rehab facility, Tham Krabok. The infamous facility uses unconventional, but apparently safe means of detoxifying the body of drug and alcohol addiction. Days start very early in the morning, are packed with chores and meditation, and are free of distraction – upon admission, you are required to leave all of your material possessions. The Monks within even provide clothing. Tham Krabok boasts a 90% completion rate of therapy, with about 60% remaining free of addiction to drugs and alcohol after one year.

Another famous drug rehab facility in Thailand is The Cabin Chiang Mai. The Cabin Chiang Mai treats substance abuse issues, as well as other addictions like sex addiction and gambling addiction.


Brazil is located near some global drug hot spots: Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia, the home of cocaine. In 2013, the city of Rio de Janeiro took matters into its own hands by rounding up people living with addiction to crack cocaine, and remanding as many people as they could to drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities.

The Brazilian Federal Government signed an initiative into law for federal funding to be funneled to the states to begin building comprehensive drug treatment centers and sobriety-focused programs. The funding, though, seems to have been ineffective – years later, many of the states are still grappling with planning, building, and executing the facilities and the programs within.


Mexico can’t be mentioned in an article about drug rehab without stating the obvious: Mexico’s drug cartels are part of the drug culture of Mexico. Powerful and wealthy enough to support terrorist initiatives as far away as Afghanistan, drug cartels are terrorist organizations themselves. Using their wealth and power to mow down thousands of innocent people every year, the various drug cartels of Mexico turned an already volatile country into a crowded war zone.

Caught in the middle of the fight for drug money are the people lucky enough to make it into a rehabilitation facility. Though some of the world’s best medical professionals are educated and practicing in Mexico, not many are willing to work closely with people living with addiction. Several times, drug rehab clinics have been attacked by, or caught in the crossfire of cartel violence.

With treatment in Mexico already limited by the country’s strained resources, it is also common that centers for drug rehabilitation tend to be abusive with their patients. Getting help with drug and alcohol addiction can be very difficult, but the more it is sought, the more resources will be used for drug and alcohol rehabilitation.