Home / Blog / “Sober Transport” – Therapeutic Transport Services Go Beyond Substance Abuse

“Sober Transport” – Therapeutic Transport Services Go Beyond Substance Abuse

Written by Arden O'Connor
Published on March 29, 2021

Sober transport may not be a concept familiar to the general public, but for those in recovery from substance abuse disorders, and their families and friends – it is an absolutely vital service. What many don’t realize, however, is that the term ‘sober transport’ can be misleading, as therapeutic transport services apply to helping more than just those in substance abuse recovery. Let’s take a closer look at what sober transport really is.

What is Sober Transport or Therapeutic Transport?

Sober transport or therapeutic transport is the service of having a professional sober or therapeutic companion accompany someone to a location for treatment. This may be someone suffering from a substance use disorder, or it may be someone working through a mental health or other behavioral health issue.

What are the Benefits of Sober or Therapeutic Transport?

Ensuring that someone needing treatment will be able to get to that location safely (and without hurting themself or using substances on the way there) is one of the most important considerations for treatment, especially if someone is unable or unwilling to go with their family. Sober transport services also serve symbolically as a clean break for the person battling a substance abuse disorder or mental health issue, where they are both assured of their safety and given someone to talk to and confide with en route. This can result in greater willingness toward and and comfort engaging with treatment once they have arrived.

While getting to treatment seems simple, the consequences of not having a professional around to provide therapeutic escort can be serious and tragic. Because of that, it is perhaps important to mention the tragedy that led to the practice of sober transport being popularized in the first place – one made all the sadder with the knowledge that had this person been with a professional companion, it likely would have never occurred in the first place.

Recognizing The Need for Therapeutic Transport – How Sober Transport Came to Be

Carol Anne Gotbaum, born in South Africa before moving to New York City later in life, was at Sky Harbor International Airport on September 28, 2007. She was about to board her flight to Tucson, in order to enter a treatment center for her alcohol abuse – but it was overbooked. After a second flight was denied later that night, reports say that Gotbaum had a violent episode, and was subsequently taken into custody. After being unattended for only five to ten minutes in her cell – Gotbaum was found dead in her cell. If Gotbaum had been accompanied by a professional sober transport in that airport to provide her with the emotional support she needed, she would likely still be alive today. The use of sober transport began to quickly grow after Gotbaum’s passing, and her story serves as a reminder of why people with substance abuse and mental health disorders, who face stigma by society, benefit greatly from therapeutic support and companionship.

Finding Sober Transport Services Near You

Various organizations across the country provide sober transport services, including our caring team of sober companions at O’Connor Professional Group. Sober transport is part of an overall suite of sober companionship services we offer to make the transition to living independently and thriving a smooth and supported one. Sober transport is an absolutely vital service in the field of substance abuse recovery, one which serves as the first step on the path towards freedom from addiction, and empowered, independent living in the face of mental and emotional difficulties.

To learn more about OPG’s therapeutic transport services for yourself or a loved one, contact our team of compassionate professionals today.

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