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What is not Allowed at Rehab

One of the hardest parts of drug addiction is admitting that you have an addiction that you need help with. Knowing this is very debilitating and sometimes embarrassing. One of the things that is even more humiliating is having someone go through your belongings, telling you what you can and cannot have. There is however, a way to prevent this or at least alleviate some of it. You can do this by knowing what is not allowed in a rehab center or detox facility. Some facilities will have different rules but there are some basic items that they do not allow.


Although you are allowed to have some toiletries, they will be searched. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, addicts find incredibly creative ways to hide their drugs or alcohol. This includes inside mouthwash and other toiletry bottles. Some of the things you are not allowed to bring are:

  • mouthwash,
  • anything with alcohol in it including rubbing alcohol,
  • tanning products,
  • Oils that could contain drugs or alcohol,
  • the majority of makeup bottles,
  • certain toothpastes that may contain alcohol,
  • razors with blades
  • cosmetic scissors or scissors of any kind, and
  • colognes, body sprays, or other perfumes.

This is not an exhaustive list of items. Some rehabs provide all of the toiletries that you will need rather than risk having drugs or alcohol brought in.



You can’t bring many of your personal belongings with you to rehab.

Prescription medications that your general practitioner or specialist prescribed are allowable, but medications are usually held and distributed by staff members. Medications that are not allowed are:

  • any medications not prescribed to you specifically for a specific condition,
  • over the counter medications not approved by the rehab,
  • vitamins not specifically prescribed, and
  • herbal medications, teas, or other herbal products.

If you have any questions about what medications are allowable and which are not call the rehab that you are entering and ask.


Although most clothing is allowable, some clothing is not. Some articles that most rehabs do not allow are:

  • clothing with drug or alcohol logos, signs, or representations on it,
  • revealing clothing,
  • high heels,
  • clothing with belts or laces (some rehabs allow these if they are inspected and you are not a suicide risk),
  • athletic tank tops,
  • revealing bathing suits or bikinis if the rehab has a pool or a hot tub, and
  • clothing with provocative, pornographic, or offensive slogans on it.

Most rehabs recommend bringing comfortable clothing in good taste. Robes and pajamas are also usually recommended as are comfortable shoes and casual clothing.

Personal Items

Most rehabs do not allow many personal items. Some things that are definitely not allowed are:

  • anything the resembles paraphernalia
  • excessive money or credit cards (if they allow money it is normally kept in a safe or other area and given to the client when needed)
  • electronics, some rehabs do allow personal music players and headphones but definitely no: cell phones, computers, televisions, tablets, internet devices, personal movie players, and extension cords or power strips.
  • expensive items such as jewelry, watches, or other items
  • weapons, although this should be a given
  • lighters, if you smoke some rehabs have smoking times and areas
  • matches
  • pornography
  • cameras or devices containing cameras
  • aerosol cleaning products or hairsprays
  • hand sanitizer that contains alcohol
  • cleaning products in general
  • musical instruments
  • tape recorders or other items that can record
  • fans or personal cooling devices
  • blankets, pillows, or other bedding

In regards to smoking or nicotine in general, many rehabs allow smoking on a limited basis. If you have an electronic cigarette, check with the rehab to see if it is allowable.


Many rehabs do not allow you to bring food in at all. Most food items are provided by the rehab but if the rehab does allow food, there are a few things that you probably should not bring. These are:

  • food containing excessive amounts of sugar or caffeine
  • energy drinks
  • soda
  • canned drinks
  • any bottles that might contain drugs or alcohol
  • bottled water
  • energy supplements

Most rehabs provide healthy food for you to eat, this includes snacks and other treats. According to the National Library of Medicine, detox and drug withdrawal in general depletes the body of much needed nutrients. Not to mention the fact that drug addiction itself usually stops you from eating properly. Many drug addictions are malnourished when they enter treatment.

An inpatient treatment center should be able to provide you with most of what you need if you forget something or if they do not allow you to bring it. When you are deciding what to bring and what not to bring, talk to the rehab and use common sense. Most rehabs are not flexible on what they allow inside and many do not supply storage.

Depending on the type of rehab, they might not allow you to bring anything from the outside in. Some rehabs have patients that are suicide risks and need to keep objects that are dangerous out. Before entering rehab, make sure that you ask them for a comprehensive list of what to bring and what not to bring. For more information on what not to bring to a treatment facility or what is not allowed at rehab give us a call at 800-481-6320.

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