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Rastafarian Drug and Alcohol Rehabs

Candid capture of a Rastafarian group meditation session

Published: February 8, 2024

People who identify as Rastafarian may find themselves most comfortable in a recovery environment that understands the complexities of their religion.

In this environment, they will find themselves around fellow Rastafarians and with access to treatments like detox, counseling, and aftercare in addition to spiritual services.

Read on to learn more about what is offered within Rastafarian drug and alcohol rehabs and about what sets them apart from other types of rehab facilities.

About Rastafarian Rehab Centers

Rastafarianism is a religion and belief system that is frequently associated with Jamaica, reggae music, Bob Marley, dreadlocks, and the smoking of cannabis or marijuana.

All of these things do play a role in Rastafarianism, which is a religion that is somewhat unique in its incorporation of substance use as a central component of its practices.

It is important to note, however, that Rastafaris do consider the body a temple and strictly discourage the alcohol use and drug use, including the use of marijuana outside of sacramental purposes.

Rastas thus typically call for abstinence from all substances, including marijuana, during periods of rehabilitation, and to substitute with homeopathic treatments like yoga and meditation.

Rastafaris also do not believe in a God in the traditional Christian sense, but instead believe that God is everywhere and in everyone at all times.

Key Facts on Rastafarian Rehab

  • Number of Rastafarians in the United States: Between 3,000 and 5,000
  • Benefits: sharing a recovery environment with other Rastafarians, ability to detox in a safe and comfortable environment, providing people with healthy tools and coping mechanisms for addiction, receiving treatment in an environment that is understanding of their beliefs and customs
  • Types of substance abuse treated: heroin, cocaine, opioids, prescription drugs, methamphetamines, painkillers, marijuana, alcohol
  • Treatments found in Rastafarian recovery programs: detoxification, medication management, case management, medication-assisted treatment (MAT), therapy and counseling, aftercare, sober living homes, reasoning sessions and community meetings, group prayer and worship
  • How to pay for Rastafarian rehab: state-funded insurance like Medicaid or Medicare, private insurance, financial assistance, donations, scholarships

Who Can Benefit from Rastafarian Rehab Programs?

Answer: Faith-based rehabs are typically created for people who are already of faith, so it is likely that Rastafarians will find the most benefit out of Rastafarian rehab programs.

However, all addiction treatment programs have the ultimate goal of helping people overcome addiction and are unlikely to turn anyone away for having different religious beliefs.

Still, it is usually best for a person entering any type of faith-based rehab program to be at least open to the idea of a higher power and incorporating this into their treatment.

Many rehab centers offer their faith-based treatments as a separate program or track that gives participants a choice in how they want to approach their treatment plan.

Rastafarian Rehab vs. Non-Faith-Based Rehab

Overview: Rastafarian rehab centers and non-faith-based rehab centers are not that different from each other, and even have a few important things in common.

Rastafarians rehab programs are for people who identify as Rastafarian, sometimes called Rastas or Rastafaris, though they are not necessarily exclusive to them.

People in non-faith-based rehab programs would prefer that religion or a higher power not be a part of their addiction treatment, though they may even be religious in their everyday life.

No matter what a person prefers, there is generally a rehab program that will make them feel comfortable, and many rehab programs provide both evidence-based treatments and optional spiritual services.

What Happens in a Rastafarian Addiction Treatment Program?

Answer: Participants in a Rastafarian rehab program will participate in traditional addiction treatment methods like detox and counseling while using their spiritual beliefs for guidance.

Not every rehab center will provide the same treatments and spiritual services, but some treatments and services you can expect to find across faith-based treatment programs.

Services, treatments, and activities that you can expect in Rastafarian rehab include:

  • Customized treatment plans for each participant
  • A variety of therapy types and settings
  • Community meetings or what Rastafarians call “Reasoning Sessions”
  • Therapy that incorporates families or romantic partners
  • Activities and events that promote socialization and a sense of community
  • Medication-assisted treatment to help with opioid use disorders
  • Aftercare and relapse prevention support
  • Alternative therapies like equine therapy or art therapy
  • Access to spiritual leaders for guidance or counseling
  • Dual diagnosis treatment for people who have co-occurring mental health or behavioral health disorders
  • Wellness classes and life skills workshops
  • Opportunities for prayer and worship

Most Rastafarian rehab centers offer a combination of researched-based treatments and faith-based treatments, with the faith-based treatments being optional.

Treatment Services & Activities in Rastafarian Rehab Programs

The following are some of the treatment services and activities that you might expect to find in a rehab program that is intended for Rastafarians.

Inpatient or Residential Treatment

Inpatient treatment is the most intensive form of substance abuse treatment and is meant for people who need or desire 24/7 supervision and care while undergoing addiction recovery.

During this type of treatment, participants live together and share common spaces, as well as attend group therapy, workshops, and other communal activities.

Community Meetings for Worship

Rastafarians do not typically utilize any type of official church space for worship, and instead meet in Rastafarian centers or in the homes of fellow believers.

These community meetings are called “Reasoning Sessions” and can include singing, dancing, chanting, and other forms of group worship.

It is also during these sessions when Rastafaris would typically smoke ganja, which would be substituted with another practice, like burning incense, during addiction rehab.

Gender-Based Care

Gender-based care is common to find throughout addiction treatment programs, and especially those that are faith-based in any form.

Not only can being around the opposite gender provide unnecessary distractions, it can also make some people feel uncomfortable or unsafe.

In gender-based care programs, it is also common for the gender of the treatment providers to match the gender of participants to make them even more comfortable.

Vegetarian Diet

Diet is an important part of the Rastafarian religion, as they generally refrain from eating all meat and practice a strict vegetarian lifestyle.

Rastafarians also refrain from drinking milk, coffee, and other caffeinated beverages.

A Rastafarian inpatient rehab is thus likely to serve a vegetarian diet or to at least serve vegetarian options for residents.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment can come in multiple levels of intensity, including intensive outpatient programs (IOP) and partial hospitalization programs (PHP), depending on the level of care an individual needs.

This level of treatment can work well for many individuals, and often includes services like counseling and support groups but can also include outpatient detox and medication-assisted treatment.

Counseling and Therapy

The types of therapy and counseling that are offered within each rehab program can vary significantly, but are always a significant part of the process. This is especially true for people who have co-occurring disorders or mental illness like anxiety or depression.

It can also be helpful to invite family members or intimate partners to participate in therapy, as long as the specific treatment program allows it.


Rastafarians place a lot of importance on the body as a temple and in being very careful and aware about what is put into it.

For this reason, medical detox may not always be an option in some Rastafarian and other faith-based rehab centers, but is available in some programs along with observational or social detox services.

Support Groups

Support groups that are found in faith-based rehab centers, including those for Rastafarians, are often found in a 12-step format like that which you find in Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.

These support groups can provide guidance and give a sense of structure to people while in rehab, and also help them establish a mentorship or sponsorship relationship with others in recovery.

Cost of Rastafarian Rehab Centers

The costs of Rastafarian rehab centers can vary significantly from treatment center to treatment center, but many are willing to work with people and their financial situations.

Some may even offer types of financial assistance or payment assistance, by offering payment plans or using sliding scale fees based on income.

Others may offer scholarships or even free treatment based on donations if they have designation as a non-profit organization.

People often use a combination of payment types in order to cover the costs of their addiction treatment.

Does Insurance Cover the Cost of a Rastafarian Rehab Program?

Answer: It is almost always possible to find Rastafarian and other faith-based rehab programs that accept insurance, though the amount of insurance coverage can vary.

Furthermore, some rehab centers may accept state-funded insurance policies, such as Medicare and Medicaid, in addition to private insurance plans.

It is important to note, however, that in order to utilize insurance for a drug and alcohol rehab program, many insurance providers require you to receive prior authorization or approval.

This may mean that you need to obtain a referral from your primary care physician or another doctor which can signify your addiction treatment as medically necessary.

What Happens After You Finish Rastafarian Rehab?

Answer: After finishing a Rastafarian rehab program, people typically move on into a type of aftercare program or support system.

For some people this may just mean continuing to participate in counseling and therapy or support groups through outpatient treatment.

Others may require more intensive support, and may find that transitional housing in the form of a sober living home or halfway house can help to keep them on track and focused on their goals.

The important thing to remember is that recovery is a process that never necessarily ends, but can continue for many years or as long as a person needs it.

Where Can You Find Rastafarian Rehab Centers Near You?

It is not always easy to know where to look for addiction centers or health care providers who are friendly to Rastafarian beliefs.

In addition, Rastafarian alcohol and drug rehab centers and resources in general are very limited on the internet and in many areas of the United States.

There are resources available, however, for finding faith-based rehab programs that serve a more general group of people seeking spiritual-based services that do not follow any specific religion, and which also serve the Rastafarian community.

Resources for finding Rastafarian rehab centers include:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous — a world-famous program for individuals that requires them to admit themselves powerless before God or whichever high power they believe in, and which focuses on treatment for alcohol addiction.
  • Narcotics Anonymous — similar to AA but for drug addiction of any kind, you can use their website to search for meetings in your local area.
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) — through their substance abuse rehabilitation center locator at, you can search for treatment facilities in your area based on numerous criteria.

You can also visit our treatment center database to look for addiction treatment near you by searching for rehab in your state.

Find Rastafarian Drug and Alcohol Rehab Options

It is never too late to get started on the path toward recovery, and for many people, a spiritual path can be just what they need to begin.

No matter what type of religion or spiritual beliefs you identify with, there is likely to be an alcohol abuse or drug abuse rehab program available to suit your needs.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you or your loved one need further help in locating a Rastafarian drug and alcohol rehab program or treatment facility nearby.

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