Oak Lawn's Top Addiction Resource & Information Guide

Oak Lawn, Illinois, has been affected by substance use, including the opioid epidemic, even going so far as to join a lawsuit against drug companies and doctors. If you’re in search of a substance use rehab program, read on for advice and information.

Oak Lawn, Illinois, is a suburb of Chicago, just southwest of the Windy City.

The Cook County community has been hit by the opioid epidemic. It’s also one of the communities making an effort to strike back. In 2018 it was one of 11 Illinois towns to file a lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies and doctors. (Other states and communities have also followed suit.)

In 2018, nearly 80% of Illinois’s drug overdose deaths involved opioids. During the early weeks of the COVID-19 epidemic, when stay-at-home orders were in place, Cook County’s overdose mortality rate climbed by 24% before tapering down as restrictions eased. More than likely, that was due to people having limited access to mental health and substance abuse treatment.

In 2020, the Cook County Department of Public Health released information about the opioid epidemic in suburban Cook County. Since 2016, 1,576 people died due to opioid overdoses. Heroin and/or fentanyl factored in the majority (more than eight in 10) of those deaths.

Student Substance Abuse in Oak Lawn, Illinois

There are plenty of colleges in the Oak Lawn, Illinois, area, from private schools like Columbia College Chicago to public options like Northeastern Illinois University and the University of Illinois Chicago.

Most colleges and universities have actively banned drug use and underage drinking. Even though marijuana’s been decriminalized in Illinois and many other states,  public universities get federal funds, and many schools outlaw the drug.

Outlawing cannabis hasn’t kept it off-campus, however. As many as 44% of college students have partaken in the past year.

Alcohol has long been more of a concern. One in three college students admits they’ve binged it (five drinks in two hours, for men, or four drinks for women) in the past month. Accidents, addiction, and assaults can result from such excess. One in four women say they have been sexually assaulted as college students, and alcohol was cited as a factor.


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Choosing a Rehab in Oak Lawn, Illinois

Dozens of drug and alcohol addiction treatment options can be found throughout the Cook County area and beyond. Taking a bit of time to do research and learning the kinds of treatments and services a center has to offer can make it easier to settle on a location.

Here are some things to consider as you search.


Accreditation and licensing show that a facility has made an effort to stay current on training, safety, patient treatment methods, and more. Third-party entities like the Joint Commission or LegitScript do inspections on rehab centers to ensure everything is as it should be. Potential clients can reach out to rehab centers for licensing information, or the information may be found online.


Substance use disorders can affect anyone. No age group, education level, culture, or race are immune. Because addiction can affect all kinds of people, taking into consideration a patient’s age, cultural background, and other details, that information can be used to make a more customized and effective treatment plan.

According to 2019 U.S. Census data, Oak Lawn has approximately 55,000 people. The majority of the population is white (81%). Hispanics or Latinos make up 22% of Oak Lawn’s populace, followed by 6.7% being Black and 3.8% being Asian.

A person with a substance use disorder who comes from an Asian or Hispanic/Latino background might prefer culturally competent care. Culturally competent care often makes for a greater understanding of the patient’s attitudes about addiction and mental illness as well as some of the challenges they may face, possibly due to language barriers or different customs. That kind of respect can make a patient feel better heard and understood, and can often result in more progress.

Patient-to-Staff Ratio

A low patient-to-staff ratio means staff at the rehab will have more time for each patient, as opposed to having many under their care. That can result in a deeper understanding of each patient’s back story and what may have led to drug or alcohol use. That knowledge can forge a deeper connection and understanding, which may help the patient make more progress throughout their treatment. Compare ratios among centers across the state, such as a rehab center in Champaign, IL.

Expecting Inpatient Drug Rehab in Oak Lawn, Illinois

Inpatient rehab usually takes place in three stages:

  • Assessment. The staff will screen the patient to determine their medical and mental health. They’ll also get a full history of their addictive past. That information will be used to draft a treatment plan.
  • Treatment. This stage could start with detoxification if needed. In detox, the patient weans off drugs or alcohol, sometimes done with a medical assist. That ensures withdrawal happens safely and comfortably. After detox, treatment can begin. That usually includes behavioral therapies and support group meetings. The goal is to identify and work through what led to the addiction. The patient will learn better coping strategies, preparing them for a substance-free life following rehab.
  • Aftercare. The rehab center works with patients while they live onsite to prepare a continuing care plan following treatment. It can make appointments for outpatient visits, referrals to counselors nearer to home, and information about local support groups, so the focus can remain on recovery.

Aftercare Planning Procedures

The aftercare plan is a significant component of rehabilitation. That stage readies the patient for leaving the center. They won’t just check out with their luggage, but they’ll have worked to hone new coping skills to help them avoid relapse.

They also may have appointments with counselors or contact information about support groups to help them keep sober. Aftercare, with its continued focus on support, establishes a sense of community, so the patient should not feel they’re alone or abandoned in their recovery.

Services Included in Treatment

A rehab center will have treatments like behavioral therapies and group counseling at its core, but there are other details to consider. Nature lovers may prefer a rehab near a lake or mountains. Or, the ocean might be appealing. Other things to look into are lodgings (single vs. shared rooms), holistic therapies, the kinds of support groups that meet, if travel accommodations are offered, and more.

Treatment Options at Rehab Centers in Oak Lawn, IL

Treatment for drug and alcohol use disorders includes assessment, treatment, and aftercare, but other components can further customize the process. That may include 12-steps (for more religious people) or non-12-steps (for those who are more secular), specific behavioral therapies, holistic care, and more.

Treatment includes intake, therapy, and aftercare, but rehab can be more bare-bones or the sky’s the limit. Below are some kinds of treatments you may run across in your research.

12-Step Rehab

Alcoholics Anonymous is the most famous example of this type of peer support group. It has its origins in the Oxford Group, which formed a century ago. Members believed problems like alcohol addiction resulted from fear and selfishness. That could be combated with honesty, selflessness, and confession, which helped mold the 12 Steps. Today there are thousands of groups around the globe, including Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, and many others. Members work the 12 steps, admitting wrongs, practicing humility, and making amends. The focus is more spiritual. Twelve-step rehab is among the most popular, so it should be available across the state—such as an Oak Park treatment facility.

Non-12-Step Rehab

These peer support groups lean secular. Rather than faith, they’ll follow principles of psychotherapy, motivation, or self-empowerment. Evidence-based approaches are preferred. If there’s new proven data that can help with addiction, they may incorporate that. Non-12-step examples include Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART Recovery), which employs cognitive-behavioral therapy, and LifeRing Recovery, which practices sobriety, self-control, and secularity.

Luxury Rehab

When a patient stays at a luxury rehab, the experience will be upscale. Rehab likely won’t be a walk in the park, as patients will still need to detox (when necessary) and be treated with therapy and counseling. The setting, however, will be high-end. So will the amenities. A client might enjoy massages, a spa-like setting, gourmet meals, private rooms, breathtaking views, and more. They also may receive more individualized care. Executives may prefer luxury rehab, too, as these facilities can usually provide a private space for them to recover as they stay connected with their company. Luxury rehab may not be available everywhere, consider looking into a bigger city—such as a rehab in Chicago, Illinois.

Alcohol Rehab

Alcohol rehab may take place in an inpatient facility with medical oversight, for the person whose drinking has affected their everyday life and possibly even their health. Detox allows for close monitoring by doctors and nurses with medication to ease withdrawal symptoms like nausea, insomnia, and anxiety. This helps ensure the patient is safe and as comfortable as possible. From there the patient begins a more structured regimen with regular meal times, counseling, support groups, and activities. The goal is to build a foundation for lasting sobriety.

Drug Rehab

Like in alcohol rehab, the patient will live on-site at the facility, ideally for 30 or more days. If they need medical oversight during detox, they might have a hospital room where nurses and doctors can quickly tend to them. Once the worst of withdrawal has passed, they’ll move to a room (shared or individual) and follow a structured regimen with regular mealtimes, therapy sessions, support groups, and activities. Inpatient rehab allows them to engage more in the recovery process, free of outside distractions.

IOP Program

Also known as intensive outpatient care. Here, the patient does not live at the center but visits every day or several times a week for longer (and more intensive) treatments like support groups, therapy, or life skills training. Sessions may last several hours and go on for many months. This helps keep the patient focused on recovery and helps develop ways to achieve lasting sobriety. Some patients will return home after IOP care, while others may stay at a temporary sober living facility.

Dual Diagnosis Rehab

A dual diagnosis, or co-occurring disorder, means someone has both a mental illness and a substance use disorder.  An estimated 9.5 million U.S. adults have both types of disorders. One condition might contribute to the development of the other, or vice-versa. It’s important to get both disorders treated for maximum effectiveness and better outcomes. Dual diagnosis rehab may be a deal-breaker for some patients, if this is unavailable locally, consider looking for rehabs in Tinley Park.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a kind of talk therapy. The patient will work with a therapist to shift negative behaviors and thinking patterns over to more positive ones. CBT can assist those with mental illness, substance use disorders, communication, trauma, stress, and more. A person with fear or self-doubt may drink to handle those feelings. CBT can address what’s at the root and help the patient work toward healthier and happier outcomes.

Holistic Rehab

Holistic treatment aims to heal the mind, body, and spirit. Once the realm of alternative lifestyles, today, there’s legitimate science that meditation, yoga, and mindfulness can be valuable in combating stress and anxiety and promoting relaxation. It can also help a person stay more in the moment. That can help with withdrawal cravings and triggers, and it can help prevent relapse.

Paying for Rehabs in Oak Lawn, Illinois

The price of addiction rehab is a question many people face as they consider treatment options. There are things you can do to keep the cost of treatment down or ways to cover the cost of care.

Start with your health insurance provider. They’ll be able to tell you which locations are covered as well as what kinds of treatment. They’ll also tell you what the co-pays and deductibles will be.

Reaching out to the rehab center is another thing to consider. They work with insurance companies, including to try and secure additional or extended treatment (when needed), so they can provide answers about services and more.

Many insurance providers do offer behavioral health or substance use treatment care. (It’ll sometimes be labeled under mental health care.) The Affordable Care Act made mental health and substance use disorders into essential health benefits, but it’s always good to double-check what is covered and where. Going in-network can save a good amount of money, too.

Medicare is for people age 65 and older or those with disabilities. It’s available in four parts, A, B, C, and D. A and B cover hospitalization and outpatient care, with some limits. C, also called Medicare Advantage, is private insurance approved by Medicare. D covers prescriptions.

Medicaid is a state and federal program that provides coverage to people below a certain income level, but also pregnant women and people with disabilities. Medicaid patients must qualify, and not all rehab will take Medicaid. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) can help find a recovery facility that accepts Medicaid. (It also has other search options, including by location, type of treatment, and more.)

Other ways to cover the cost of treatment include loans, payment plans, or paying out-of-pocket.

Traveling to Oak Lawn, Illinois Rehab Centers

People traveling into the Chicago area from out of town or out of state would probably land at O’Hare International Airport, which is about 30 miles north of Oak Lawn.

Oak Lawn has public transportation options, too, including:

  • The Oak Lawn Metra rail station is located in downtown Oak Lawn
  • PACE and CTA bus lines

Most rehab centers can answer questions about transportation, and some will even pick up patients from within a two-hour radius and return them to the airport (or even home, depending on the distance) upon completing rehab.

Oak Lawn, Illinois Addiction Treatment Resources

12 Steps

Twelve-step plans focus on faith (or a higher power). Members work them one by one, making amends or admitting powerlessness to their addictions. Traditionally, 12-steps meet in person, but with COVID-19, many are meeting virtually or via phone. Be sure to confirm if it’s in person or remote beforehand before venturing out to a meeting.

Non-12 Steps

Non-12-steps take a more scientific and secular approach to addiction recovery.

  • LifeRing Secular Recovery. Meeting-goers work on LifeRing’s three S’s: sobriety, security, and self-help.
  • SMART Recovery. (Self-Management and Recovery Training). For all kinds of addictions — not just alcohol or drugs. SMART uses a lot of cognitive-behavioral therapy to help its members.
  • Women for Sobriety. WFS uses a 13-point New Life Program that encourages spiritual growth and self-empowerment.
  • Moderation Management. Here, the goal is not so much about stopping drinking outright but practicing more self-control.

Veterans Affairs Addiction Treatment

Veterans serve their country, sometimes at great cost to their safety and overall health. They risk life, limb, and a lifetime of pain to do their duty.

Not only does combat put veterans at risk of injuries, but such dangers and intense situations make them candidates for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

As many as 20% of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom veterans, 12% of Gulf War vets, and up to 30% of Vietnam Veterans may have PTSD.

Some will receive treatment, but others may resort to self-medicating the trauma with alcohol or drugs. That brings with it a danger of addiction.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) does offer counseling and other resources for substance abuse and mental health care.

There are many medical centers, outpatient clinics, community-based outpatient clinics, and veterans centers in Chicago and its suburbs, including the Oak Lawn VA Clinic on South Cicero Avenue.


  1. abc7chicago.com – 11 Illinois towns file lawsuit over opioid crisis
  2. drugabuse.gov – Illinois: Opioid-Involved Deaths and Related Harms
  3. usnews.com – Opioid Deaths Spiked in Chicago’s Home County While a Stay-at-Home Order Was in Effect
  4. cookcountypublichealth.org – Opioid Epidemic in Suburban Cook County
  5. chicago.suntimes.com – Marijuana use among U.S. college students hits record high during pandemic, study finds
  6. illinoisnewsroom.org – Illinois Colleges Approach Legal Weed Differently, Even Though It’s Legal Federally
  7. census.gov – Quick Facts: Oak Lawn village, Illinois
  8. opioidpreventionandtreatment.ucsf.edu – Cultural and Structural Competence to Improve Treatment Engagement for Substance Use Disorders
  9. samhsa.gov – Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
  10. samhsa.gov – Recovery and Recovery Support
  11. medlineplus.gov – Alcohol withdrawal
  12. nami.org – Substance Use Disorders
  13. mayoclinic.org – Cognitive behavioral therapy
  14. health.usnews.com – Why You Should Consider Holistic Addiction Treatment
  15. mentalhealth.gov – Health Insurance and Mental Health Services
  16. dhs.state.il.us – Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse – Overview
  17. oaklawn-il.gov – Metra Station Information
  18. ptsd.va.gov – How Common is PTSD in Veterans?
  19. va.gov – Substance use treatment for veterans
  20. va.gov – Locations – Illinois
  21. hines.va.gov – Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital

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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