Is treatment abroad over?

Seeking help overseas for drug and alcohol treatment has been popular for the last 20 years +.  Various countries like South Africa and Thailand have managed to attract people from Europe, America and the Middle East since the early 2000’s.

Thailand’s popularity for foreign treatment reached an all-time high early 2020, with over 20 rehabs operation in various different capacities. However, since covid most have terminated their services or moth-balled their business.

Rehabs in general have suffered greatly, despite a rising need for their services. In countries like the UK and USA drug and alcohol problems have soared. Many of those who are in “recovery” from drugs and alcohol have seen an alarming rate of relapse and those who’ve been more prone to heavy drinking and drug use have increased their usage to more dangerous levels.

From my own personal experience, although people may want rehab there is a reluctance to go into a rehab in the UK because of concerns about their mixing with others in close quarters. This has been especially a concern in the UK where the outbreaks have been unmanageable and excessively high.  

To pre-empt the difficulties in managing outbreaks some sober-living programs have closed their doors to any new clients and intend to wind down services to a complete halt until better understanding takes place.  


Every single country has some form of quarantine procedure in place currently, often these quarantine protocols are longer than 14 days –  this means anyone who is considering treatment in a foreign country will be in isolation for over two weeks. 

There are some rehabs that are helping clients achieve detox before leaving their respective country and coming to rehab but there is a reluctance for individuals to embark on such a commitment. Understandably so, many people aren’t too willing to spend 14 days alone in a room. Even those without the troubles that would make them seek rehab. 

When will it change?     

Unfortunately this is very uncertain, in Thailand there is a lot of talk about Phuket reopening in July 2021 to foreign visitors but this is very hard to predict with outbreaks happening quite frequently across the world.  The best case scenario is towards the end of this year, the worst case scenario is around 10 years.  Some people in the biotech industry, largely responsible for track and trace apps and invasive medical screening processes are stating that we have a very long way to go. 

Even with vaccination the quarantine process will only come down to 7 days of isolation, which is probably still enough to deter quite a lot of people from going over-seas for treatment.

Still a need

Unfortunately, these recent developments have demonstrated very clearly that we do need rehabs and treatment centers more than ever.   Although online counselling can be a very effective measure in helping people, it may be very difficult for those who can’t escape environmental triggers or unhealthy living arrangements.

Going abroad for some people was a very solid idea previously, not only in terms of value of service but providing a much needed geographical change to get away from drink, drugs and their mental health. We will have to wait and see what happens over the next few years.

Published by Dylan Kerr BA ACAT FDAP DipHE MBABCP

Mr Dylan Kerr Addictions Counselor Bachelors in Clinical Counseling (Hons) Advanced Certified Addictions Therapist Member of the British Association for Behaviour and Cognitive Psychotherapist Member of the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Practitioners HeDip Health-care HeDip Psychology of Addiction Dip Counselling Diploma in Arts Therapy Diploma in Transactional Analysis CSAT III Dylan Kerr is a Certified Substance Abuse Therapist who is qualified in Counseling, Psychology of addiction from Leeds University and Healthcare from Birmingham City University. Dylan Kerr has been a senior Therapist at the River Rehab, Lead Therapist at Lanna Rehab in Chiang Mai and Head Counselor of Hope Rehab in Siracha. As well as working in Thailand for 7 years, Dylan has also been the on-tour counsellor for the the Rock band ‘The Libertines’. Dylan is now resident counsellor at an Asian rehab. Dylan has experience of working within the music industry supporting acts in therapeutic needs. As well as working around the world Dylan has over 13 years experience delivering substance use disorder treatment at various agencies around the UK. He is skilled in motivational interviewing, CBT, RET and guidance around 12 step philosophies. Dylan has worked with a broad client base and establish the rapport needed to effect change and sustainable progression. Dylan wishes to start this blog to help educate people on his observations within this field and debate the nature of work in the addictions field.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: