Joliet's Top Addiction Resource & Information Guide

Joliet, Illinois, is not far from Chicago and shares many of the same problems, such as violent crime, COVID-19, and substance use disorders. It’s been addressing them with the help of the Illinois Department of Health Services, as well as prevention and treatment programs at the high school and university level.

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Joliet, Illinois, is the third-largest city in Illinois and part of the Chicago Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). It’s also the county seat of and second-most populous city in Will County (although parts of it are in Kendall County). It is a major hub for roads, rail, and natural gas pipelines.

Illinois is also a global leader in life sciences, including pharmaceuticals, which has not prevented it from falling victim to the epidemic of opioid overdose deaths.

Joliet has a population of 150,362. It straddles Will and Kendall counties, the fourth and 15th largest counties in the state.

The median age in Joliet, Illinois, is 33.8, younger than Kendall County (35.2), both Will County and Illinois (38.6), and the United States (38.5).



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Economics of Joliet, Illinois

In 2019, in Joliet, Illinois:

  • The poverty rate was 10.9%, higher than Will County (6.75%) and Kendall County (4.5%), but lower than Illinois (12.5%) and the U.S. (12.3%).
  • The median annual household income was $70,509, lower than Kendall County ($96,563) and Will County ($90,134), but higher than Illinois ($69,187) and the U.S. ($65,712).
  • The median property value was $181,100, lower than in Will County ($251,600), Kendall County ($235,600), Illinois ($209,100) and the U.S. ($240,500).

In general, people in Joliet, Illinois, tended to have lower educational attainment than Illinois and the United States as a whole:

  • A higher percentage in Joliet, Illinois, has no high school diploma (15.2%) than in Will County (9.2%), Kendall County (7%), Illinois (11.7%), and the United States (13%) overall.
  • Fewer have a bachelor’s degree in Joliet, Illinois, (22.4%) than Kendall County (39.3%), Will County (33.5%), Illinois (32.9%), and the U.S. (30.3%).
  • Fewer (1.1%) have an advanced degree ( MBA, Ph.D., MD), compared to Will County (2.4%), Kendall County (3.9%), Illinois (3.4%), and the U.S. (3.3%).

Opioid Overdose Deaths in Joliet, Illinois

Illinois had the nation’s 24th highest overdose death rate in 2020 with 28 per 100,000, a more than 25% (27.3%) increase over 2019 (22), based on preliminary CDC data. That’s a 40% increase over the average number of deaths from 2015 to 2019 (20).

(The rate was 74, more than three times as high, in No. 1 West Virginia. South Dakota was last with eight. The overall U.S. rate was 29.4.)

In the first nine months of 2019, there were 32 overdose deaths in Joliet, more than 20 involving two or more drugs in combination. Three ruled suicides, 21 involving fentanyl, 16 heroin, 10 cocaine, four alcohol, two hydrocodone, one oxycodone, and one methadone.

Of the 95 overdose deaths recorded in Will County through Aug. 20, 2021:

Substance Abuse in Joliet, Illinois

Substance abuse or substance use disorder (SUD) includes but is not limited to addiction. That’s the most extreme form of SUD. It doesn’t represent a moral defect or weakness of character.

Addiction is a disease that is caused, triggered, or exacerbated by behavior but has a genetic component. It’s a chronic illness, a medical condition like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, that affects some people more than others.

Just as some people can eat sugar without becoming a diabetic or eat fatty foods without clogging their arteries, some people can drink without becoming an alcoholic or use opioids safely to treat acute pain for a week or two and not become addicted.

Although most overdoses involve polydrug use, the single largest factor driving overdose deaths in Joliet, Illinois, is fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is as much as 50 times more potent than heroin.

Originally, fentanyl was a legitimate pain treatment for often terminal illnesses such as cancer. The crackdown on legal opioid prescriptions, and its potency, made it the drug of choice for many dealers and cartels.

Fentanyl can be pressed into pill form and sold as OxyContin or mixed with other drugs, including heroin and cocaine. Because of its potency, a slight dosage miscalculation can be fatal.

Of the 95 overdoses reported in Will County between January 1 and October 5, 2021, more than three-quarters (73) involved fentanyl, alone or in combination with other substances (including other types of fentanyl). All of these fentanyl overdoses were fatal.

There were also 17 heroin-involved overdoses and deaths in Will County. In every case, fentanyl was also detected. Of eight alcohol-involved overdoses in Will County, the six fatal ones all involved fentanyl.

Cocaine was also involved in 34 fatalities in Will County, all but one also involving fentanyl.

Joliet recorded 40 overdose cases. Of the 34 overdose deaths:

  • 33 involved fentanyl.
  • 5, heroin.
  • 14, cocaine.
  • 3, alcohol.

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Student Substance Abuse in Joliet, Illinois, Colleges

Opioids and other legal and black-market substances aren’t the only type of substances abused. Only 20% who use a prescription drug do so without a prescription.

Even legal substances can cause harm to physical, mental, and emotional development if used and abused at a young age. The risk of damage is higher until about age 25 because the brain is still developing.

Among young people, ages 10 to 19, the most commonly abused substances are:

  • Alcohol: Two-thirds.
  • Marijuana: 50%.
  • Tobacco: 40%.

Approximately half of all college and university students are younger than 21, the legal drinking age, but between 4% and 10% of all the alcohol consumed in the United States started drinking between ages 12 and 20.

Binge drinking (more than five drinks within two hours for men, four for women) is prevalent on and around college campuses. According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), about one-third of college students between the ages of 18 and 22 binge drank in the previous month.

Since COVID-19 closed most college campuses, however, while the average number of days drinking has gone up, the amount of alcohol consumed has mostly gone down. According to a report published in January 2021:

  • Those who moved home reduced their weekly drinking by more than a third (39%), from 13.9 to 8.5.
  • Those who continued to live with friends drank about as much as before (10.6 to 11).
  • Those who were living at home before, and continued after the COVID-19 pandemic began, increased their drinking by about 40%, from 6.7 to 9.4.

Joliet, Illinois, is home to at least two colleges, both with services for students facing mental health substance use disorders, or both (dual diagnosis):

  • Joliet Junior College. Its Mental Health and Wellness Services include:
    • Confidential counseling
    • Crisis intervention
    • Group therapy and workshops
    • Student outreach events and activities

Waiting until college might be too late to prevent substance use disorders, however. Alcohol and drug education need to start much earlier.

A 2016 report released in 2016 found that while heroin use most often begins between ages 17 and 18 and is at its highest rate from ages 18 to 25, those who use prescription opioids nonmedically between the ages of 10 and 12 are most likely to have heroin use disorder later in life.

Joliet West High School offers a Student Assistance Program for when substance abuse is suspected. It provides for:

  • Substance abuse prevention activities.
  • Interventions.
  • Coordinating services with local agencies.
  • Support groups.
  • Developing new programs in collaboration with the community.

Choosing a Rehabs in Joliet, Illinois

Some rehabs offer more or different services than others. Some have different philosophies or treatment approaches. Some have qualified staff who care about their clients, maybe even staff who have personal experience of SUDs. Some rehabs place more emphasis on faith and the 12 steps than science or evidence-based therapies.

Before choosing a rehab center, clients and their families should make sure it meets their wants and needs. After evaluating, consider facilities in Joliet as well as facilities in nearby areas such as Schaumburg, IL.


To make sure a rehab center is qualified, not a fly-by-night operation designed to siphon tax dollars and empty clients’ bank accounts, check that it has the proper certifications and licenses.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association (SAMHSA) approves four accreditation bodies:

Some addiction treatment centers can also become a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) or a designated collaborative organization (DCO).

In Illinois—which includes centers in the nearby Naperville area—counselors also must be certified by:

  • Illinois Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Professional Certification Association (IAODAPCA).

Client-to-Staff Ratio

The fewer clients per rehab staff person, the more likely each client will receive proper care. Unfortunately, there is no official standard for what that ratio should be. Some sources set an acceptable ratio as few as three clients per staff, others as many as 10, and others have no set limit.

Treatment Options at Rehab Centers in Joliet, Illinois

All rehabs offer some form of counseling, some sort of support group, and do their best to make sure their clients are not drinking or abusing drugs or other substances. Beyond that, there are many optional treatments, differing in degree and kind.

There are also different levels or intensities of treatment. Most clients will transition from one level to the next as treatment continues. Treatment usually requires more than one approach, too; not everyone responds to the same treatment.

Treatments for alcohol, drug, and other substance use disorders (SUDs) in Joliet, Illinois, include:

  • Early Intervention. Beginning treatment before all the SUD criteria are met to prevent or reduce the harm.
  • Case Management. Ensuring delivery of all treatment services.
  • Outpatient Treatment. Part-time therapy, nine hours a week or less, allows the client to work or attend school and live at home.
  • Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP). Still part-time, but now up to 19 hours per week, usually over five days.
  • Detoxification. When clients are still using substances as they enter rehab. Detox is a medically monitored taper of substances, sometimes incorporating safer replacement drugs.
  • Residential Rehabilitation. The client eats, sleeps, has leisure time, and attends classes and therapy at the rehab center, 24/7, never leaving except under staff supervision. Also known as inpatient rehab. Drug tests may be required regularly.
  • Residential Aftercare. When a client isn’t ready to live soberly immediately after rehab, they may transfer to a sober living halfway house or recovery residence.

What to Expect During Inpatient Drug Rehab in Joliet, Illinois

Almost all alcohol and drug rehabs offer some variation on these stages, services, and programs (rehabs in Joliet may differ from rehabs in Aurora, for example):

  • Intake. This interview/assessment takes place during admission so that an individualized course of treatment can be planned.
  • Detox. If a client hasn’t stopped using drugs long enough to complete withdrawal, then detoxification may be needed before treatment can begin. This can involve a taper—a gradual reduction in the dosage of drugs or alcohol that is used—or stopping abruptly, with medications to control the symptoms.
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT). In cases of long-term substance abuse, withdrawal can take weeks or even months. So rehab can begin immediately, another safer drug is substituted to manage withdrawal: methadone or buprenorphine (Suboxone) for opioids, acamprosate (Campral) for alcohol. This is called MAT or narcotic replacement therapy. Other types of MAT can prevent opioid’s effects (naltrexone or Vivitrol) or punish alcohol use by making the drinker sick (disulfiram or Antabuse).

Dual Diagnosis Rehab in Joliet, Illinois

Sometimes a substance use disorder begins as a means to self-medicate for a mental health issue such as anxiety, stress, depression, or trauma. Without collateral treatment of the co-occurring mental illness—also called a dual diagnosis—substance use is likely to recur.

When people have both a mental illness and a substance use disorder at the same time, it’s known as dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders.

This often happens because the two disorders may be connected. Some substance use disorders may cause mental illness, and some substance use is an attempt to self-treat symptoms of mental illness.

According to one study, in 2018:

  • 28% of adults with a serious mental illness (SMI) in the previous year (SMI) also had a substance use disorder.
  • 19.3% of adults with any mental illness (AMI) also had an SUD).
  • 5% of adults with no mental illness had an SUD.

Too often, one of the disorders is not diagnosed because it is thought to be only a symptom of the other disorder. No matter which disorder came first, both must be treated for successful, long-term recovery. If both are not treated, both are likely to recur.

There are three treatment approaches for dual diagnosis:

  1. Sequential: Treatment for one disorder must be completed before treatment for the other disorder is considered.
  2. Simultaneous (but in parallel): Different teams treat each disorder at the same time but separately.
  3. Concurrent (and integrated): The same team treats both disorders at the same time.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a key treatment for dual diagnosis.

Luxury Rehab

Luxury rehab is what the name implies: more akin to a resort than the popular conception of a bare-bones rehab center:

  • Rooms are usually private with their own bathroom.
  • Meals are catered.
  • The setting is attractive, with access to the beach and/or a pool.

For people with a business to run or a job that can be performed remotely with the equivalent of a hotel’s business center (computer, fax, printer, phone), luxury rehab offers the opportunity to continue working, at least part-time, so long as it doesn’t interfere with treatment.

That doesn’t mean luxury rehabs don’t require a willingness to change one’s relationship with alcohol and drugs. Luxury rehab is not a way for rich people to avoid the spotlight or evade the law under the pretense of substance abuse rehabilitation.

Luxury rehab is a chance to reset behavior in more comfortable conditions than is available to the working poor.

Drug Rehab

One of the two main types of substance use disorders treated at rehab centers is drug use disorder, which includes many drug types. Some of them have more treatment approaches than others.

The most abused and most deadly class of drugs currently are opioids, which include:

  • Illegal drugs such as heroin and fentanyl.
  • Legal (when and if prescribed) painkillers such as OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin.

Opioids are addictive and potentially lethal, but they have treatment options not available to all drugs: medication-assisted treatment (MAT). These include other opioid medications, such as methadone and buprenorphine, that may be taken long-term with less risk of addiction and overdose, allowing for a gradual taper.

Another non-opioid type of MAT, naltrexone, blocks the euphoria associated with opioids and can cause instant withdrawal.

Other types of drugs don’t have similar MATs, only drugs to treat the symptoms of withdrawal. These include:

  • Marijuana or Cannabis. No fatal overdoses have ever been recorded, and it’s not clear if marijuana is addictive in the same sense as opioids, but marijuana users can become dependent on the THC in marijuana.
  • K2 or Spice. Sometimes called synthetic marijuana because the chemicals (sprayed on dried plant matter to resemble marijuana) are similar to the chemicals (cannabinoids) in marijuana. K2 is unregulated, however, and its use has killed people.
  • Stimulants. These include illegal (cocaine) and legal (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder medications such as Ritalin, Concerta, and Adderall).
  • Central Nervous System Depressants. These drugs (benzodiazepines and barbiturates, other sedatives, tranquilizers, and hypnotics) treat anxiety, stress, and insomnia. They can slow brain activity and breathing, lower blood pressure, and cause confusion. In rare cases, stopping use can cause a fatal seizure.

Alcohol Rehab

Alcohol or ethanol is a drug like opioids, stimulants, benzodiazepines, and cannabis that affects the body and mind.

Despite that commonality, drug rehab and alcohol rehab have some differences. There are even differences among drugs:

  • Acamprosate. Reduces the desire and craving to drink in clients who are sober and plan to remain sober. It won’t prevent withdrawal.
  • Disulfiram. Taken regularly, this causes unpleasant side effects (nausea, headache, vomiting, chest pains, difficulty breathing) if alcohol is consumed.
  • Naltrexone. This blocks the pleasant effects of alcohol, but not the impairment.

Holistic Rehab

SUD has physical and mental dimensions; so should SUD treatment. This whole-person approach incorporates exercise and mindfulness practices such as:

  • Meditation.
  • Yoga, tai chi, and other gentle movements.
  • Art and music therapy.
  • Massage.
  • Acupuncture.
  • Nutritional therapy.
  • Equine therapy.

Aftercare Planning Procedures

Because the best science now says SUDs are chronic diseases like diabetes, total cures are probably not possible. Recovery requires a continuum of care for the rest of the client’s life. That’s where aftercare comes in.

By designing an aftercare plan, counselors help clients minimize the risk of relapse, learn new behaviors, and avoid the people, places, and situations when they used to abuse substances.

Support groups

A support group doesn’t have to be with a formal therapist. Peer fellowships—groups of people also in recovery, some for years—give clients a place to vent, to share, and to learn from the experiences (triumphs and setbacks) of others. Group members may even become sober friends.

Twelve-step rehab

One popular SUD treatment that is free and widely available uses what is known as the Twelve Steps. These are a series of acknowledgments and acts designed to accept responsibility for one’s addiction and actions, to atone for them, and to pay it forward by helping others.

Twelve-step rehab is about more than the Twelve Steps, however. Twelve-step groups hold meetings in which they publicly acknowledge their SUD and share stories about their progress, setbacks, and attempts to remain sober.

Members of Twelve Step groups are encouraged to come back even after they seem to have their substance use under control. In part, this is because the founders knew from long experience that complacency leads to relapse, but also so members with long-term sobriety can serve as an example and mentors for those newly sober.

Some twelve-step programs have offshoots for the family and friends of those with SUDs.

  • Alcoholics Anonymous. Meetings of people with alcohol use disorders (AUDs) to offer mutual support as they try to stay abstinent and work the Twelve Steps. Those with long-term sobriety sometimes act as sponsors to newer members. More than 20 meetings weekly in Joliet, IL, alone, most in-person but a couple only online, plus meetings in other cities and online.
  • Al-Anon and Alateen. Mutual support groups For the family and friends of those with AUDs. There are seven in Joliet, Illinois (three Alateen), plus electronic meetings.
  • Adult Children of Alcoholics. A twelve-step group for people who grew up in families that were dysfunctional due to an AUD. The only Joliet-based meeting is currently Zoom-only, but there are online and telephone meetings, too.
  • Narcotics Anonymous. Like AA but for those with narcotic use disorders. Only one meeting is currently listed in Joliet.
  • Nar-Anon and Narateen. Like Al-Anon/Alateen but for the family and friends of those with narcotic use disorders. No Nar-Anon meetings are currently listed in (but three within 25 miles of) Joliet, plus virtual meetings (plus six virtual Narateen meetings).
  • Cocaine Anonymous. No meetings listed in (but several within 25 to 50 miles of) Joliet, plus virtual meetings.
  • Dual Recovery Anonymous. Twelve-step program for those with a dual diagnosis/co-occurring disorders. No meetings listed in (but several within 30 miles of) Joliet.
  • Marijuana Anonymous. No meetings within 50 miles of Joliet, but 35 online meetings.
  • Local Celebrate Recovery groups. All 12-step programs are at least quasi-Christian but Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-centered 12-step program. There are two meetings listed in Joliet, Illinois, plus another dozen within 25 miles.
  • Crystal Meth Anonymous. No meetings in Joliet but nine in Chicago and seven online.

Non-12-step rehab

Support groups that do not use the Twelve Steps format are usually science- or evidence-based as opposed to faith-based. They include:

  • SMART Recovery. Self-Management and Recovery Training has trained facilitators who teach scientifically validated tools and techniques to change addictive behaviors. There is only one meeting listed in Joliet, Illinois, but about ten within 25 miles, including three that have moved online.
  • LifeRing Secular Recovery. Members share experiences to help them design their recovery plan. There are no meetings listed in Joliet, and the only meeting in Illinois has moved online, but there are more online meetings.
  • Women for Sobriety. A support group of women and for women in recovery. There are no meetings listed for Joliet but four in Chicago.
  • Moderation Management. This group aims to curtail problem drinking, not necessarily all drinking. There don’t seem to be any face-to-face meetings in Illinois, but there are phone and video meetings.
  • Parents of Addicted Loved Ones. In-person meetings and phone calls focus on the challenges of parenting someone who is misusing substances. Includes religious aspects but is open to all. No meetings in or near Joliet, Illinois (and only one in Illinois), but online meetings.
  • Grief Recovery After a Substance Passing (GRASP). A healing community for those who have lost a loved one to a substance use overdose. There are no meetings in (but three meetings within 35 miles of) Joliet, Illinois.

Veterans Affairs Addiction Treatment

As of 2019, about 6,031 veterans lived in Joliet, Illinois. Many of them have or will experience physical and mental health issues due to their time in service, including:

  • Physical illness: Pain, seizures, and diseases associated with their time in the service or unprotected sex or sharing needles (HIV/AIDS, hepatitis)
  • Mental illness: Both any mental illness (AMI)—anxiety, depression, stress, trauma—and severe mental illnesses (SMI)—bipolar disorder, schizophrenia—related to readjustment to civilian life
  • Substance use disorders. Use or abuse of alcohol, opioids, other prescription drugs, marijuana, and illicit drugs.

The only Veterans Health Administration facility in Joliet, Illinois, is the Joliet VA Clinic. Its behavioral health services include individual and group counseling.

Joliet is only 40 miles by road from Chicago and its VA centers, including:

The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) lists other Veterans resources not exclusive to Chicago, Illinois, or Illinois, including:

Paying for Rehabs in Joliet, Illinois

Health insurance often pays for at least some addiction treatment, but plans vary greatly. When there is a shortfall, Medicare and Medicaid may help, as may local and state governments.

In Illinois:

  • The Department of Human Services (IDHS) offers Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA) evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation for people with alcohol and other drug use disorders.
  • The Addictions Treatment Program (ATP) provides inpatient detox, rehab services, and continuing care on a sliding fee schedule. It’s not free, but no one will be turned away because of an inability to pay.

Traveling to Joliet, Illinois, Rehab Centers

Getting to and around Joliet, Illinois, may require more than one form of transportation. You can fly; there are only two large airports within 50 miles of Joliet—four others have no scheduled flights—and only one has high connectivity to other airports: Chicago O’Hare International Airport (32.69 miles).

From O’Hare, you can get to Joliet, Illinois by subway, shuttle, or taxi.


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  105. helplineil.org – Illinois Helpline for Opioids & Other Substances
  106. dhs.state.il.us – IDHS: Help is Here: Talk to Someone
  107. dhs.state.il.us – IDHS: Office LOcator
  108. crisistextline.org – Crisis Text Line
  109. suicidepreventionlifeline.org – National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
  110. dhs.state.il.us – IDHS: Screening, Assessments and Support Services, SASS
  111. samhsa.gov – SAMHSA’s National Helpline

Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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