A. Frequently Asked Questions
Click on a question or scroll down to read the entire list of responses.
Or, call our Admission call center at 855-SEE-CODA (855-733-2632)
Q. What does “addicted” or “substance use disorder” mean? *
A. Simply put, someone with a substance use disorder (addiction) involving alcohol and drugs has a complex brain disease that causes people to become dependent on those substances. People who are dependent have cravings so strong that they keep on using the substances even when devastating things happen: loss of jobs, homes, children and partners; involvement with the criminal justice or child welfare systems. Use disorders are treatable, and in some cases medication can help, along with counseling and other kinds of treatment.
* Note: Language describing healthcare issues evolves over time. This is why you are beginning to see “addiction” replaced by “substance use disorder.” Changes in language around alcohol, drug, and mental health treatment can help reduce stigma. One of the sources for changes is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the latest edition is called the DSM-V or DSM 5) which is updated periodically and used by healthcare providers.
Source: Two of the many National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) brochures: “Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment” and “Drugs, Brains, and Behavior – The Science of Addiction.”
A more formal description of addiction (substance use disorder):
“Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors. Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.”
Q. What does it mean to be “recovering?”
A. One useful way to think of what goes into reaching recovery is to consider these four areas:
Health: this means overcoming or managing one’s disease(s) as well as living in a physically and emotionally healthy way; Home: maintaining a safe, stable place to live; Purpose: carrying out meaningful independent daily activities, such as a job, school, taking care of family; and Community: building relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope.
Source: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). For more information, click here for the SAMHSA Resource Guide.
Q. What does CODA do?
A. We bring the experience of more than 40 years of service in the Greater Portland area, serving some of the community’s most vulnerable people. Today we operate 15 programs at ten sites, including medically monitored detoxification, outpatient, and residential treatment for women and for men. CODA also offers housing for people in recovery, including women reuniting with children who have been in foster care, and for people diagnosed with both substance use disorders and mental health conditions.
Q. Is there a way for me to help the people who come to CODA?
A. Yes! The people who come to CODA need your support, and there are many ways to do that. If you would like to work with us, please visit our Careers page. (If you would like to receive occasional emails about what is happening at CODA, please email us using the list below and select HELPING CODA from the menu. We promise not to pester you or sell your email address.)
There are several ways to contribute goods and funds to CODA. You can designate the agency (“CODA, Inc.”) when you make your workplace contribution to United Way of the Columbia-Willamette. You can check out choices on our Donate page. You can mail checks to: CODA Development Office, 1027 E. Burnside St., Portland OR 97214. If you would like to find out how your volunteer group can become involved with CODA, please email using the form at the bottom of this page. If none of these choices are quite right, but you’d still like to join our efforts, please email and describe your interests.
Q. Why should I come to CODA for help?
A. CODA offers treatment based on sound science and research, and a demonstrated commitment to providing care to the individual, not cookie-cutter solutions. We provide one-on-one and group counseling, providing the personal attention you need to get well. If your condition will benefit from addiction medicine, we will explain your choices and make the proper medication available to you. Many CODA clients progress from one level of care to another, and continue to work with CODA staff as they reach recovery and beyond. We call this the “continuum of care” and it is another thing that sets CODA apart.
Q. How do I know if I need outpatient or residential treatment?
A. When you connect with CODA, we will talk with you and listen closely to learn about your health, your life and your hopes for treatment, then help you make the best choice. We will work with you, each step of the way, and provide the services you need to live a healthy life.
Q. Where are you located?
A. CODA has locations in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties. See the full list or call our Call Center at 1-855-SEE-CODA (855-733-2632).
Q. How do people get services at CODA?
A. Some people come to CODA when another healthcare provider refers them. Others learn of our services from county or state agencies. Still others come because a friend, family member or co-worker was helped here. If you want to learn more about CODA and how we can help you or someone you know, contact a program location near you or call our Call Center in Portland: 1-855-SEE-CODA (855-733-2632).
Q. How much do services cost? Do you take insurance? Medicare?
A. The out-of-pocket costs for our outpatient and withdrawal management (detox) services depend upon the type and amount of insurance you have. If you do not have insurance, we have subsidies that allow people to pay reduced rates based on income. (In some cases, specific subsidies are connected to the county of residence.) Most of the people in residential programs are eligible for subsidies or no-cost care. The best way to find out how much treatment will cost is to review your individual situation with an intake specialist at one of our locations.
Some patients pay for services directly. We also accept Oregon Health Plan and private insurance. We do not accept Medicare at this time. Each insurance plan is very different in its coverage of substance use and mental health treatment. At your intake appointment, we will work with you and your insurance company to determine exactly what charges are covered. For outpatient mental health services, you must be enrolled in the Oregon Health Plan and hold Verity coverage for mental health treatment.
Q. My health insurance covers treatment somewhere else. Can I still come to CODA?
A. Coverage varies depending on the insurance provider and your situation. When you contact CODA, we will help you determine if your coverage can be used for CODA services. If your plan does not cover our services and you still want to receive treatment at CODA, we will work with you to offer other options when possible.
Q. How long do I have to wait to get treatment in a CODA program?
A. CODA withdrawal management (detox) and Outpatient appointments are usually available within a few days. The wait for residential services usually starts at two weeks. Women who are pregnant, people using drugs intravenously, or who are transferring from a higher level of care are given priority for residential programs. We have many locations. You may contact our Admissions call center at 855-SEE-CODA (855-733-2632).
Q. May I go to a CODA program in a county other than the one in which I live?
A. Yes, in most cases you can get treatment from any CODA location. There are some exceptions–some programs are funded to serve people who live in specific places. When you contact CODA, we will explain all your choices. If we do not have a program that fits your needs, we will tell you of those Community Partners which offer appropriate services.
Q. If I relapse during outpatient treatment, will I be kicked out of the program?
A. No. CODA’s mission is to help people recover. Relapse is a part of the addictive illness for many people, and is not a failure of willpower or some kind of moral weakness. If you relapse, your counselor and other CODA staff will work with you to identify the reasons for your substance use, and help you create a plan to avoid using in the future. We’ll be with you every step of the way.
Q. What does CODA stand for?
A. Back in 1969 when our agency was founded, it was called “Comprehensive Options for Drug Abusers.” It is still the legal name, but the (dba) — the “does business as” name is CODA, Inc. Most people know us by this shorter, easier-to-remember name.
Q. What is detoxification? Is it the same as withdrawal management?”
A. Detoxification (often called “detox” for short) is part of a process called withdrawal management during which a person stops using alcohol and drugs, and her/his body adjusts to the physical changes that come with withdrawing from substances. CODA offers what is called “inpatient sub-acute detoxification,” which means 24-hour medical monitoring and medicines to safely manage the physiological withdrawal symptoms and cravings. People who are dependent on alcohol, opioids or with mild benzodiazepine dependence may receive detox treatment at CODA, as can patients on opioid-replacement therapy in need of detoxification for alcohol.
Q. How do I get into withdrawal management/detox? How long does it last?
A. A telephone screen is the first step. That call usually lasts about 10 minutes and you will be asked about your substance use, severity of your condition and other health issues. If this is the best step for your particular needs, we want to help you enter detox as swiftly as possible. Further interviewing and medical exams take place when you are on site. The typical stay is 5-10 days.
Q. Does everyone need detoxification first?
A. No. Although this is often described as a front door to treatment and many people do need this level of care before they can move forward in their recovery, there are many ways to enter treatment and this is just one of them.
Q. Are CODA’s sites accessible for disabled people?
Q. Does CODA have a state-certified DUII program?
A. Yes. At CODA, we provide clinical services to satisfy Oregon’s DUII requirements in a safe, supportive environment. In CODA’s DUII programs, individuals work with counselors one-on-one and in groups to find ways to manage substance use and prevent future impaired driving. Most other states also accept CODA’s program, and our staff can help you determine if it meets your needs.
Q. What is “addiction medicine? Is it the same thing as medication-assisted treatment?”
A. This refers to the medicines used to treat people who are addicted to substances. Some medicines used in this treatment are: methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone.
For more on this subject, see this brochure from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Medication Assisted Treatment. You may also find these resources from National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to be useful: “Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment” and “Drugs, Brains, and Behavior – The Science of Addiction.”
Q. What is methadone?
A. Methadone is a rigorously tested medication that has been safely used to treat opioid addiction in the United States for more than 40 years. It blocks the craving for opioids that is a major factor in relapse. For more detailed information on methadone, see this very good tutorial from the National Institute on Drug Abuse–specifically the NIDA International website’s Methadone Research Website and Tutorial.
Q. I’m afraid I will get addicted to methadone. Is that possible?
A. When you take methadone every day, your body becomes dependent on it. Your body depends on it because your brain is no longer making chemicals in the same way it did before you began using opioids. This means you may have withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking methadone abruptly. This does not mean you’re addicted to it, it only means that it is keeping your body in a stable place so you can focus on your recovery.
Q. I’m pregnant. Can I get medicines to help me get off drugs?
A. Yes. If you are using opioids, it is recommended that you receive methadone while you’re pregnant. It is proven to be safe for your baby and it is effective in helping you abstain from opioids. You cannot take naltrexone (Revia or Vivitrol) while you are pregnant. Because we are confident that this treatment is safe, and because it is so important to the health of your baby, we have procedures in place to make sure you get into treatment as quickly as possible. CODA’s Project Nurture, a partnership with OHSU Family Medicine at Richmond and Health Share of Oregon, supports pregnant patients who are in medication-assisted treatment. Project Nurture provides pre-natal services, pregnancy, delivery, and breastfeeding support, along with healthy baby visits for a year and immunizations for your baby. For more information, call CODA’s Admissions call center at 855-SEE-CODA (855-733-2632).
Q. Can I get methadone to take home?
A. Yes, as you make progress in treatment. There are several government regulations that define who can take medications home and when. These regulations are the same as our goals for you while you’re in treatment: negative UAs, participation in treatment, and a recovery environment that supports your health and safety. The amount of time you have been in treatment and are achieving these goals determines how many take home medications you can have.
Q. Can people with chronic health conditions, like HIV, participate in CODA’s services?
A. Absolutely. As with pregnant women who come to CODA, we have special procedures to make sure people with HIV or AIDS can get into treatment as fast as possible. Many people who have been addicted to opioids learn they have chronic health conditions that need attention. We find people are more likely to see a physician after they enroll in treatment. Once you’re in treatment, we can help you learn ways to improve your health and we will work closely with your primary care physician. If you don’t have a physician, we can help you find one.
Q. Can I be on other medications if I am on an opioid replacement medication?
A. Yes, but it’s very important that you tell us what medications you’re taking. Some medications affect how your body breaks down the methadone. In those cases, we may need to adjust the dose of your medication. There are some medications that are not recommended if you are on methadone. If you are prescribed one of these, we will work with you and your doctor to find a safe alternative.
Q. Where can I find A.A., N.A., Alanon and other 12-step meetings?
- Alcoholics Anonymous in Oregon.
- Narcotics Anonymous in Greater Portland.
- Al-anon and Alateen in Oregon.
- For problem gambling in Oregon.
Q. What does “dual-diagnosis” mean? Is it the same thing as “co-occurring disorders”?
A. The term “dual diagnosis” when used in connection with addictions usually refers to someone who has more than one condition, such as an addiction to alcohol or drugs along with a mental illness. (Yes, “co-occurring disorders” is often used to mean the same thing.) If a medical provider or counselor uses these terms, ask for a more detailed explanation of what this means in the case being discussed. For more information, check out the website of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Q. Where can I find out more information about addiction and about mental illness?
- Oregon’s chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
- Multnomah County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
- Washington County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
- Clackamas County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
The website for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has a wide-range of resources on mental health and substance use prevention, treatment and education. It can take some time to search through the agency’s offerings, but it is worth the time and effort.
Q. Is my information confidential?
A. Yes, your information is confidential and will not be shared without your permission. Federal and state law and CODA policy ensures this. The exception to this policy is a situation in which a person’s health emergency requires that we communicate with medical providers or others close to the person.
Q. I see that CODA has a Research Department. Can I participate in studies?
A. Yes. CODA Research is frequently recruiting for study participants. We generally participate in two kinds of studies: (1) surveys about your opinions, beliefs, or practices and (2) clinical trials. Participants in any clinical trial are chosen based on eligibility. For example, in a study about medication treatments for opioid dependence, we would recruit participants with a dependence on heroin, prescription pain medications, etc. All of our studies provide you with clear explanations of your rights and risks for participating. If you are interested in participating in one of CODA’s research studies, click here.
Q. Do you pay your research participants?
Q. I want to make a difference. How can I contribute to CODA?
A. There are many ways to join us in the work we do to help people live healthier lives. Donations of any amount, as well as gifts of goods and services, are always welcome. For more information on giving to CODA, see our Donations page and/or contact our Development Director Jill Murray at 971-202-7756, or our Director of Marketing and Individual Gifts Stephen Cassell at 971-202-7763.
If you would like to start or continue your career at CODA, please visit our Careers page.
If you would like to be on CODA’s email list to receive occasional updates, please use the form below and select HELPING CODA for the subject. We will not sell or share your email address, and we will not pester you.
More questions? Please see the Contact Us page.
Or call our Admissions call center: 855-SEE-CODA (855-733-2632)