Oak Park's Top Addiction Resource & Information Guide

Oak Park, Illinois, is full of history and fun for locals and visitors alike, but the area has been touched by the opioid epidemic. Read on to learn what to look for when seeking addiction rehab.

Oak Park is a suburb of Chicago, in Cook County, Illinois.

Over the years, it has been home to Architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who settled there in 1889 and established his home and studio, Ernest Hemingway the writer, was also born in Oak Park.

Today it’s home to more than 52,000 people, with an average median income of $94,000 (compared to Chicago’s $58,000 median income for 2019).

Despite the higher average income, Oak Park still experiences problems with substance abuse.

Oak Park firefighters and paramedics administered Naloxone (which can reverse an opioid overdose) 43 times in 2015 and 46 times in 2014.

The Cook County Department of Public Health released a survey about the opioid epidemic in suburban Cook County in 2020. Since 2016, 1,576 people have died from opioid overdoses. The majority (82.9%) involved heroin and/or fentanyl. Nearly half (677, or 43%) of those cases also had another drug that caused excess drowsiness or depressed breathing (alcohol, barbiturates, or benzodiazepines). Polydrug use can be especially dangerous.

Middle-aged Black men, ages 35–64, experienced a sharp increase in overdose death rates in that time.

Student Substance Abuse in Oak Park, Illinois

Even though substance use is illegal for teens, it still happens. Among some college students, drinking is a regular social ritual.

The state collected data for its 2020 Illinois Youth Survey, polling more than 17,000 Cook County (excluding Chicago) 8th, 10th, and 12th-graders.

For the previous year, the following percentages of 12th graders said:

  • 23% used alcohol or drugs to relax, feel better about themselves, or fit in.
  • 18% used alcohol or drugs while alone.
  • 23% were passengers or drove a car while high or using drugs/alcohol.

When asked how easy it would be to get alcohol, 31% of 12th graders said it would be “sort of easy,” and 28% said it would be “very easy.” Thirty percent said it would be “very easy” to get marijuana. (In comparison, 19% said it would be “very easy” to get cigarettes.

There are several colleges and universities near Oak Park, Illinois, both private and public. Two public colleges are the University of Illinois Chicago and Northeastern Illinois University. Various City Colleges of Chicago are nearby, too.

Many colleges and universities outlaw drug use, even with marijuana being made legal. (Public colleges receiving federal funding could be a factor since marijuana remains illegal on a federal level.)

Banned or not, cannabis remains popular among college students. As many as 44% have admitted to past-year use.

Alcohol has been more of a concern. More than half of college students have said they’ve drunk in the last month. One-third say they’ve binged alcohol (five drinks in two hours, for men, or four drinks for women). That can lead to several problems, from accidents to addiction. Many women (one in four) have said they’ve been sexually assaulted as college students, with alcohol being a factor.


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What to Look for When Choosing a Rehab in Oak Park, Illinois

There are dozens of treatment options throughout the Cook County area and beyond. With so many choices, it can be overwhelming when trying to land on the perfect center for you. Research and understanding what kinds of treatments and services a center may offer can make it easier to come to a decision.


Accreditation and licensing are important to consider as you search for a rehab center. They will show that a facility has done the legwork to remain current on training, safety, patient treatment protocols, and more. Third-party entities like the Joint Commission or LegitScript inspect rehab centers and other health care clinics to make sure everything is up to date and up to snuff. Rehab centers can provide licensing information to prospective patients, or the information can be found online.


Substance use disorders can affect anyone. Rich or poor. Male or female. Black or white.

Some people may prefer to find a center that focuses on treating certain demographics.

According to the 2019 U.S. Census, Oak Park is 68% white, 18% Black, 5% Asian, and 9% Hispanic or Latino. Slightly less than 9% of the population is foreign-born. Just under one-fourth of Oak Park is below the age of 18, while nearly 15% is age 65 and older.

Someone who is an immigrant might fare better with culturally competent care. That can cross language barriers, or there can be a better understanding of the patient’s attitudes about addiction and mental illness. Some cultures might view mental illness as a defect instead of an illness, so a therapist who treats the patient with those kinds of details in mind may make more progress toward the client’s recovery.

It can also be worth considering if a person is a teen or in college, a senior citizen, or a veteran. Going into rehab, the goal will be to get them clean and sober, but they’ll likely have different circumstances that brought them there, and they’ll face unique challenges. The right care can have a more substantial impact.

Patient-to-Staff Ratio

A low patient-to-staff ratio means the rehab professionals will have more time to focus on each patient rather than having many under their care. That can lead to a deeper understanding of each patient’s history and better insight into what led to drug or alcohol use. That may result in better treatment outcomes.

What to Expect During Inpatient Drug Rehab in Oak Park, Illinois

Inpatient rehab will usually happen in three stages, with slight variations according to client needs:

  • Assessment. The staff screens the patient, getting a full history of their addictive past as well as a thorough examination of their physical and mental health. That information is used to mold a treatment plan.
  • Treatment. This stage might begin with detoxification if needed. That’s when the patient is weaned off drugs or alcohol, sometimes medically assisted, to ensure the withdrawal happens in safety and comfort. Once the patient is medically stable, then treatment can begin in earnest. That usually includes behavioral therapies and support group meetings, to get the patient used to sobriety and prepare them for staying that way.
  • Aftercare. The rehab center will work with the patient while they still reside on-site to prepare a continuing care plan for life after rehab. It can involve outpatient visits, referrals to counselors closer to home, and support groups, so the focus remains on recovery.

Aftercare Planning Procedures

Putting together an aftercare plan is a key part of rehabilitation. That prepares the patient for leaving the center, arming them with strategies for them to remain sober and avoid relapse.

The client will have a chance to use the lessons they learned in rehab and apply them in day-to-day life. In rehab, for example, the patient might learn new life skills like cooking or how to craft a resume, but they will also learn new coping skills and ways to better manage stress without resorting to substance use. Counseling and support groups help with that, and they can also provide the foundation for a sense of community, so the patient has a help network ready for challenges that follow rehab.

Services Included in Treatment

A rehab center will have core treatments like behavioral therapies and group counseling, but there are other services and amenities to consider in your search. If you find nature to be soothing and restorative, then a rehab near a lake, near the mountains, or by the ocean may prove appealing. Other things to consider are lodging (single vs. shared rooms), if there are holistic treatments, what the recreational activities are, travel accommodations, and more.

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Treatment Options at Rehab Centers in Oak Park, IL

Treatment for drug and alcohol use disorders may vary somewhat. Assessment, treatment, and aftercare form the core of a rehab program, but other components can be added to reinforce the process. That can include 12 steps (for more spiritually inclined people) or non-12 steps (for those who would rather lean on science or motivation), specific behavioral therapies, holistic treatments, and more.

Types of Treatment Available

Treatment includes assessment/intake, therapies, and aftercare, but the bigger picture, as well as the smaller details, can vary.

12-Step Rehab in Oak Park, Illinois

Alcoholics Anonymous is the most well-known example of this type of peer support group. Members navigate the 12 steps, which include acknowledging a higher power (it can be God, but it could also just be something bigger than you) and admitting one is powerless to their addiction. These groups are more spiritual, but religion is generally not necessary to take part. Other 12 steps include Heroin Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, and many others.

Non-12-Step Rehab in Oak Park, Illinois

These peer support groups are more secular, following science over faith. Principles of psychotherapy, motivation, or self-empowerment are more likely to play a starring role. Personal responsibility instead of moral failings (which can be a part of 12-steps) is emphasized. SMART Recovery is one non-12-step example, which incorporates aspects of cognitive behavioral therapy.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Oak Park, Illinois

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a popular type of talk therapy that focuses on shifting negative behaviors and thought patterns over to more positive ones. It can help with mental illness, substance use disorders, communication, trauma, stress, and more. There’s a good amount of scientific evidence about CBT’s effectiveness, and it can start to produce results in a brief span of time (weeks or months, rather than years). Consider looking all around the state for the right fit of CBT, such as a rehab center in Berwyn, IL.

Luxury Rehab in Oak Park, Illinois

Luxury rehab will still be work, with detoxification and treatment, but the amenities will be more upscale. A stay at a luxury rehab might mean massage, spa-like settings, gourmet meals, private rooms, and more await the patient. Executives sometimes stay at luxury rehabs, where they can continue with their work as they more individualized care in a setting that protects their privacy. Consider looking in big cities—like a rehab in Chicago—if luxury rehab is unavailable locally.

Alcohol Rehab in Oak Park, Illinois

Here, the patient receives treatment for alcohol use disorder. Depending on how dependent they are on alcohol, they may be in need of detoxification assistance. That’s because it can be extremely uncomfortable (and sometimes dangerous) to endure. Medical oversight ensures it happens safely, and staffers will administer medications to help with withdrawal symptoms like vomiting, insomnia, and anxiety.  From there, patients will move on to treatment.

Drug Rehab in Oak Park, Illinois

Drug rehab shares a lot of common ground with alcohol rehab, but the patient will get clean from any number of illicit or abused drugs. It can vary from methamphetamine to opioids. Medically assisted treatment can help a patient through painful and potentially deadly withdrawal. (Opioids and benzodiazepines can be especially hard to stop cold turkey.) Once in the clear, the patient moves on to a course of treatment that includes talk therapies, group counseling, and more.

IOP Program in Oak Park, Illinois

IOP stands for an intensive outpatient program. In such situations, the patient will visit the rehab facility or clinic several times a week, usually several hours at a time, for treatment. That can include group therapies, counseling, or life skills coursework. Once they complete the day’s itinerary, they return home or to a temporary sober living facility. Sometimes IOP care can take the stead of inpatient treatment, but it also can be a transitional step to further solidify a person’s recovery.

Dual Diagnosis Rehab in Oak Park, Illinois

Dual diagnosis is also known as co-occurring disorders. When a person has a dual diagnosis, they have both a mental illness, like schizophrenia or anxiety, and a substance use disorder. Either condition may result from or cause the other. It’s important to get both conditions treated, however. As of 2019, it was estimated that 9.5 million U.S. adults have such co-occurring disorders. Dual diagnosis can be a necessity for those with co-occurring disorders, if this treatment isn’t available nearby, consider checking rehab centers in Palatine, Illinois.

Holistic Rehab in Oak Park, Illinois

The goal of holistic treatment is to heal the mind, body, and spirit. It used to be seen as more of an alternative practice, but the science shows that treatments like yoga, meditation, art therapy, and other practices can help a person focus, and they help slash stress. That can be helpful for a person in treatment for substance use disorders. It can also be beneficial in preventing relapse.

Paying for Rehabs in Oak Park, Illinois

As you look into drug or alcohol rehabs in Oak Park, Illinois, there are things you can do to either help keep treatment costs down, or to pay for care.

Contacting your health insurance provider is a good start. They’ll be able to tell you which services are included, for how long, and what deductibles and co-pays might be. Calling the rehab center is another thing you can do.  They work closely with insurance companies and can provide answers about services, costs, and more.

Many insurance companies do offer some degree of behavioral health services or substance abuse treatment. (Sometimes it’s under behavioral or mental health care.) The Affordable Care Act designated mental health care (and substance use disorders are considered mental disorders) as essential health benefits. Going in-network for care can save a lot of money, so it’s good to research beforehand to avoid any pricey surprises.

Illinois has programs for  people with substance use disorders:

  • 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.
  • Cook County has a Drug Court Treatment Program that helps nonviolent substance abusing offenders receive treatment as part of their parole.

Medicare and Medicaid do cover behavioral health, too. Medicaid patients must qualify, however.

Loans, payment plans, and paying out-of-pocket are other ways to cover treatment.

Traveling to Oak Park, Illinois Rehab Centers

People traveling into the Chicago area from out of town or out of state would likely land at O’Hare International Airport, which is about 10–15 minutes away if you drive.

The Chicago Metro area has several public transportation options as well, including:

  • Two Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) elevated rail lines (the Blue and Green)
  • The Metra rail service (Union Pacific West Line)
  • PACE and CTA bus lines

Many rehab centers can answer questions or provide transportation to and from their centers. Usually, they’ll accommodate patients within a set radius of their facilities—two hours, for example.

Oak Park, Illinois Addiction Treatment Resources

12 Steps

Twelve-step plans focus more on faith (or some sort of higher power). Members work through them one by one by making amends, admitting wrongs, or saying they are powerless to their addictions. Normally 12 steps meet in person, but with COVID-19, many have moved meetings online. Be sure to double-check beforehand before venturing out to a meeting. Additionally, the 12 steps are among the most popular treatment types, so consider looking all around the state—in a rehab center in Mount Prospect, perhaps.

  • Ala-Anon and Alateen. To help those whose loved ones have drinking problems. Alateen is for teenagers.
  • Cocaine Anonymous (CA). For those working through addiction to cocaine or other mind-altering substances.
  • Dual Recovery Anonymous. The only requirement is that the individual has a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder that they wish to manage.
  • Nar-Anon. Using the 12-step model to overcome addiction.

Non-12 Steps

Non-12 steps use a more secular approach to addiction recovery.

  • SMART Recovery. (Self-Management and Recovery Training). People can join whether they’re addicted to alcohol, drugs, gambling, food, or more. Cognitive-behavioral therapy and motivation are focal points.
  • Women for Sobriety. WFS has a 13-point New Life Program that advocates spiritual growth and self-empowerment.
  • Moderation Management. Here, the goal is not so much about going cold turkey but practicing more self-control.

Veterans Affairs Addiction Treatment

Members of the armed forces make the ultimate sacrifice, risking life, limb, and injury to serve. Combat and other dangers put them at risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Anywhere from 11-20% of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom veterans, approximately 12% of Gulf War vets, and as many as 30% of Vietnam Veterans may have PTSD.

Some receive treatment for it, but others may try to power through alone, self-medicating with alcohol or drugs. Or, returning soldiers may have injuries that need pain management, and some may resort to opioids to ease the hurt. In either case, there is a risk of addiction.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers counseling, peer support resources, and more for substance abuse and mental health care.There are many medical centers, outpatient clinics, community-based outpatient clinics, and veterans centers in the Chicago area.


  1. census.gov – Quick Facts: Oak Park Village, Illinois
  2. oak-park.us – Police equipped to address drug overdoses
  3. cookcountypublichealth.org – Opioid Epidemic in Suburban Cook County
  4. cookcountypublichealth.org – Illinois Youth Survey: 2020 County Report
  5. forbes.com – Colleges Ban Medical Marijuana Use, Even In States Where It Is Legal
  6. chicago.suntimes.com – Marijuana use among U.S. college students hits record high during pandemic, study finds
  7. illinoisnewsroom.org – Illinois Colleges Approach Legal Weed Differently, Even Though It’s Legal Federally
  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. mayoclinic.org – Cognitive behavioral therapy
  12. medlineplus.gov – Alcohol withdrawal
  13. nami.org – Substance Use Disorders
  14. mentalhealth.gov – Health Insurance and Mental Health Services
  15. dhs.state.il.us – Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse – Overview
  16. oak-park.us – Public Transportation
  17. ptsd.va.gov – How Common is PTSD in Veterans?

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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