How to Find Free Drug Rehab and Detox Centers

Content Overview

Where can I find an insurance-covered or free drug rehab center?

To find a rehab center near you, you can start your search with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Use their Directory of Single State Agencies for Substance Abuse Services to find the local resource to contact in your state. Be prepared to verify your income, whether you have any insurance, and any need for financial support before you can enroll.

For some individuals, any monetary cost of alcohol or drug addiction rehab is too much.

For people living in poverty and those who are unemployed, even homeless, and struggling with the physical, emotional, and financial cost of addiction, the idea of entering a treatment program seems impossible because there is simply no money available. Because many treatment programs are beyond the ability of these individuals or their families to afford, some of them attempt a potentially dangerous cold-turkey or at-home detox, or other treatment methods that are not evidence-based. Some of these individuals, even though they want to move past their addictions, give up on the idea of rehab altogether simply based on the inability to pay.

These individuals may not know that there are options for them. Free rehab centers and public assistance for rehab do exist. Exploring treatment avenues such as these is a good idea as it may reveal detox programs and other recovery options available to you at little or no cost. There are also opportunities to defray the cost of treatment or to have it covered by another entity. Many of these options are outlined below.

How to Start Your Search

One way to find free treatment programs is through the government; the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides a search tool that can find nearby treatment centers based on an individual’s address. The search tool allows individuals to filter programs based on their specific requirements.
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One challenge with this method is that it’s difficult to tell whether or not the entities provide free treatment without contacting them or your state mental health or substance abuse agency.


State-Funded Rehab

Most states provide funding for drug and alcohol rehabilitation services through public mental health or substance abuse treatment centers that can be accessed by those with no insurance or no income. These centers usually require that the clients qualify through proving:

  • Official residence in the state, based on the state’s definition.
  • Lack of income and insurance.
  • Legal residence in the US.
  • Addiction status and need for intervention.

Depending on the state, there may be other requirements before the individual can be accepted into the treatment program. Once this information is established, if the state deems that the client cannot pay, they may provide free treatment on various levels through specific types of clinics or treatment centers.

To begin this process and to find these treatment options, a person dealing with drug or alcohol addiction can get in touch with their state or local mental/behavioral health or substance abuse services. These are often part of larger public or community health agency networks within the government. SAMHSA maintains a Directory of Single State Agencies (SSA) for Substance Abuse Services to make it easier for people to find out whom to contact. The state’s government websites can also provide information on these services and how to apply for them.

Faith-Based Rehab

A number of faith-based groups operate drug and alcohol recovery programs. These include the Christian Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Centers and Harbor Light detox and residential centers, which can be found nationwide, as well as a variety of other rehab centers and organizations dedicated to residential rehabilitation and support based on their specific faith traditions. Some religious organizations offer support organizations for people in rehab, such as the Orthodox Jewish Chabad movement recovery program and its residential treatment center for men in California, or JACS, a Jewish community addiction resource group in New York, along with a number of other Christian support organizations, like Alcoholics Victorious and Christians in Recovery. These groups generally provide free 12-Step support or other counseling, religious motivation, and peer support group programs, but do not provide medical detox, requiring that their clients undergo detox before beginning their programs.

Faith-based rehabs use their faith traditions as part of their treatment programs. Finding these centers is often just a matter of talking to the leaders of these faith traditions to connect with the resources. Many of these programs are free of charge, but not all of them, so individuals should confirm before getting involved.

What Is Included in Free Drug Rehab?

Depending on the provider and the sources of funding, free drug rehab can include anything from intensive inpatient care to simple outpatient medical maintenance.

State-funded programs are more likely to cover a full range of treatment options, though they may not yet have access the very latest in cutting-edge treatment technology or treatment center amenities that some private programs are able to offer. Despite the likelihood of having more basic or standard recovery settings, these state programs still provide effective treatment as well as valuable post-treatment support.

Who Qualifies?

Diagnostics of Mental HealthAs discussed in part above, many of these rehab center options require that clients apply and be accepted to the programs based on certain qualifications. For free rehab, the main qualifying factor is usually a demonstrated inability to pay. Other qualifications may include residence in the state where treatment is provided, certain social qualifiers, such as being pregnant or a veteran, or being a member of the faith community that runs a faith-based rehab.

There are priority populations in many state rehab centers. For example, through the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, it is clearly stated that those who are considered to be priorities for state-funded treatment are:

  • Pregnant women addicted to IV drugs.
  • Pregnant women with addictions in general.
  • Anyone else addicted to IV drugs.
  • Women with addictions within one year after giving birth.

People in one or more of these categories will be the most likely to receive state-funded treatment services in the state of Washington.

If a person has insurance coverage, or demonstrates an ability to pay at least part of their treatment cost, free treatment programs may not be available to that person. If that’s the case, there are other ways to help cover the cost of rehab, even at private inpatient treatment centers.

What Other Options Exist for Someone Who Can’t Afford Treatment?

If free treatment is not available, or if an individual doesn’t qualify for free programs or needs a treatment type that is different from those provided for free, there are other ways to obtain funding that may lower or defray the cost:

  • Scholarships: Some organizations offer scholarships to help people with low incomes afford treatment. These scholarships are sometimes offered through private treatment facilities or through organizations concerned with helping those who are struggling with addiction. It is always advisable to inquire about scholarships or grants available for low-income individuals when seeking a treatment center. In some cases, SAMHSA also provides grants for treatment that can be provided through the state or treatment center.
  • Loans: Many treatment centers provide financing, and there are even specialty loan companies specifically for the purpose of funding treatment for individuals. If an individual is able to pay back the amount after treatment, this course may be a way to pay until that reimbursement is possible.
  • 12-Step programs and non-religious self-help and support groups: While these groups are not recommended as a sole treatment mode for addiction, they are a strong means of support for ongoing recovery during and after rehab. Attendance of group meetings is most often free, requiring no dues.
  • Friends and family: The loved ones of those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol often want to help but aren’t always sure how to bring it up. It’s worth it to ask loved ones if they are willing to assist with the cost of treatment, even if one is embarrassed to do so. Perhaps it could be discussed as a loan that the individual can work to pay back over time. This may be a last resort for some, and even for those who ask, the answer may be no, but it’s a chance for loved ones to be involved and invested in recovery.

Recovery Advice When Money Is Scarce

Living on a limited income is challenging enough; having to deal with recovery from a drug or alcohol addiction on a limited income is even more so. Finding help with treatment can make ease some of this burden, and it can help those struggling with addiction to get their lives back. Once recovery is in progress, it can help to be surrounded by others who understand and who can help the recovering individual through the process, such as by participating in self-help groups and other counseling programs.
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Using these free services can help support recovery for the long term, making it easier to manage life after treatment and maintain sobriety into the future.


Last updated on November 15, 20182018-11-15T13:32:53
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