What Are the Four Phases of the Residential Drug Abuse Program?

What Are the Four Phases of the Residential Drug Abuse Program?
By Richard McDonald

The Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP) has four phases. These phases are orientation, core, transition and aftercare. The first three stages each last three months. The final stage usually last six months. Every RDAP program may have slight differences. But, all in all, the base principles of RDAP are the same.

What is the first phase of RDAP?

Orientation is the beginning stage. This is where RDAP participants learn the basic principles of the program. The main focus of the orientation phase is to educate the participants. The education focuses on the main components of the program. Participants in the orientation phase work in the introductory manual. The RDAP program uses cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). CBT is different from drug and alcohol education.  It focuses on behavior. You learn about principles such as responsibility, caring, and honesty. The program focuses on open-mindedness, objectivity and gratitude. These are the core principles of the program, along with the seven agreements.

After 90 days in this program, you’ll attend the team. Team is where you stand in front of the whole group of counselors and specialists. The prison psychologist, the RDAP director and the drug treatment specialists attend this meeting. The goal of team is for you to show you understand the material in each phase. Most participants are nervous about attending team. If you fail at team, you’re held back. Being held back means that you repeat the phase. When you repeat a phase, you wear a yellow lanyard.

Image courtesy of KatarzynaBialasiewicz via iStock by Getty Images.

What is the second phase of RDAP?

The next phase is the core phase. This phase also lasts 90 days. Those in the core phase serve as personal mentors to those in the orientation phase. Core members also learn new concepts such as criminal thinking and cognitive indolence. In core, you have a more advanced manual to learn from. You will complete issue cards and turn them in. The core phase is the most challenging. As with the orientation phase, core members attend team. The same rules apply. You must show that you understand core-related concepts. You’ll meet in front of the whole RDAP staff like in the orientation phase. Once again, if you fail this phase, you’re held back.

What is the third phase of RDAP?

The third phase is the transition phase. In this phase, you should understand the RDAP program completely. Transition participants also serve as tree leaders. Tree leaders oversee the mentors. They’re the true examples of the community. This phase also lasts 90 days. Upon completion of this phase, each participant must attend a final team. The same rules apply. If you fail, you’ll repeat the phase. Those who pass this phase earn the right to graduate from the RDAP program. Graduation is a short ceremony. The warden may attend.

What is the final phase of RDAP?

The final phase is the aftercare phase. This phase can be completed at a halfway house or in prison depending on the sentence of the participant. Because of COVID-19, aftercare is virtual in some areas. Aftercare requires participants to have weekly meetings with drug treatment specialists. Aftercare usually lasts six months.

The Takeaway:

The Residential Drug Abuse Program has four phases. You must show the staff that you understand the lessons taught in each phase to move on to the next phase.

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