Can I Use My Phone During Inpatient Rehab?

Young white male talking on cellphone

Banning cell phones and regulating house phones eliminates the temptation to smuggle in drugs

If you are entering drug or alcohol rehab, then it is a good idea to know what you are allowed to bring. Inpatient rehab facilities usually forbid the use of personal cell phones, as well as other items. For instance, most rehab centers ban personal computers or DVD players, and do not allow patients to bring their own laundry detergent to reduce the chance of a patient smuggling in drugs or other contraband.

Why Can’t I Use My Phone during Rehab?

The time in rehab should be spent on recovery. Rehab facilities design programs that focus on recovery, so all time in rehab, even free time, is planned and accounted for. Patients will be busy with detox, individual and group counseling, exercise, occupational therapy and other activities. The facility does not want patients to be distracted by incoming calls, and does not want them to disrupt, miss or be late for activities because they are making calls. Most facilities will have a phone that patients can use subject to certain restrictions. For instance, there will usually be a time set aside during which patients can contact family members, and that time will be limited.

There is also a concern that some patients may use cell phones to contact drug connections to smuggle drugs onto the premises. Some patients attempt to circumvent the process and can cause serious problems for the facility as well as for fellow patients. Even patients who sincerely want to overcome addiction can fall victim to cravings and be tempted to smuggle in drugs. Banning cell phones and regulating house phones eliminates this threat to recovery.

Personal Items to Bring to Addiction Rehabilitation

The following personal items are allowed in rehab:

  • Personal identification
  • Credit card
  • A reasonable amount of cash (usually no more than $200)
  • A check to cover the cost of rehab
  • A list of medications you are taking and dosage instructions
  • A list of doctors, family members and friends who are allowed to contact you
  • Toiletries (toothpaste, shampoo, etc.; all must be alcohol free)
  • Casual clothing and clothes for exercising (it is advisable to use layering for changing weather conditions; tank tops, sleeveless shirts and anything with drug or alcohol references are prohibited)
  • Swimsuit
  • Hat and sunglasses (for outdoor use only)
  • Sneakers
  • Hiking boots
  • Sunscreen
  • Certain electronics are allowed (alarm clock, hair dryer, CD player, iPod)
  • Cigarettes (must be brought to rehab in sealed, unopened packages)

If you take rehab seriously, the activities will dominate your time anyway, so you may not miss those personal items anyway.

Do You Have Questions?

The preceding guidelines apply to most rehab facilities. Restrictions may vary between facilities, so contact your facility before rehab for a list of recommended and prohibited items. If you have any other questions about rehab, or if you would like help finding inpatient rehab, call us. Our helpline is toll free and we are available 24 hours a day to help people just like you.