Counselor listening to patient

Rights and Protections while in Treatment

Rights and Protections while in Treatment


The safety of treatment program participants is our highest priority. The rights of OASAS-certified program participants are protected under New York State Mental Hygiene Law. If you feel you've been mistreated, or rights are being infringed on, discuss it with program staff. Issues can often be resolved within the program between the parties involved. If an issue cannot be resolved, or if you feel you cannot discuss the issue with your counselor, their supervisor, or the program director, you have options.




Participants of OASAS-certified programs have a right to:

  • Be informed of the program's rules and regulations.
  • Receive considerate and respectful care.
  • Receive services without regard to race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, sexual orientation or source of payment.
  • Receive confidential treatment. Except for a medical emergency, court order, child abuse or crimes committed on program premises, a program generally cannot release information about your treatment without your written consent.
  • Be fully informed of your treatment plan and participate in its development. This includes setting goals and measuring progress with your counselor.
  • Refuse treatment and be told what effect this could have on your health or status in the program.
  • Discontinue treatment at any time.
  • Obtain, in writing, an explanation of the reason(s) for your discharge from treatment and information about the program's appeal process. And, if necessary, receive help obtaining treatment at another program.
  • Avoid inappropriate personal involvement with counselors, staff or other patients. Patients have the right to be free from sexual harassment and sexual misconduct.


Responsibilities while in treatment: 

  • Act responsibly and cooperate with the staff from your program.
  • Treat the staff and other patients with courtesy and respect.
  • Respect the right of other patients to receive confidential treatment.
  • Participate in the development and completion of your treatment plan, which includes becoming involved in productive activities, such as work or school and not using drugs.
  • Pay for treatment on a timely basis, according to your means.
  • Talk with a counselor about problems that affect your treatment progress and recovery.
  • Offer suggestions on improving program operations.
  • Talk with a counselor before ending treatment; don't just stop or leave.
  • Ask questions about any part of your treatment you don't understand.

Issues while in Treatment

If at any point you feel that your rights have been infringed on or violated talk to your counselor, their supervisor, or the treatment program director. For more significant grievances about a program or its staff call the Patient Advocacy hotline or contact the Justice Center. No punitive action can be taken against those in treatment for voicing their concerns.

Patient Advocacy Unit- Staff will investigate or inspect the issue, contact the program and work to resolve matters quickly and fairly. The Patient Advocacy hotline is staffed Monday-Fridays, during normal business hours. Calls must be made from within New York State.

Justice Center- Investigates allegations of abuse and neglect involving program personnel who interact with patients on a regular basis and in a substantial manner.


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