Addiction is a major issue in the United States. An estimated 20.4 million Americans age 12 or older (7.4%) experienced addiction in the last year.1 However, in 2019, only 4.2 million people (1.5%) received some type of care and only 2.6 million people (1%) received specialized addiction treatment.1
Treatment can be expensive, and many people struggle to pay for care. Lack of insurance coverage can also make it difficult to access treatment. In 2019, 20.9% of people cited this issue as the reason they weren’t able to get the treatment they needed.1 Fortunately, there are free rehab options that can make care accessible through government-funded treatment facilities, non-profit rehab centers, and faith-based organizations.
What is Free Rehab?
Free rehab facilities provide services to people who need addiction treatment but cannot afford it. These facilities can offer a spectrum of services, ranging from detoxification alone through inpatient treatment. The programs are commonly funded through the federal and state governments, donations, and grants.2
The federal government sets aside money for addiction treatment, and various agencies within the government provide funding as well.2 States are also given the discretion to apply these funds and state funds as they see fit.2,3 Charitable donations can be provided at any time to facilities.
Many facilities will work with people who are unable to afford treatment by helping them apply for insurance or adjusting treatment costs according to income.3 In 2019, sliding scale payments were accepted by 58% of all treatment facilities, while low-cost or free treatment was available at 45% of all treatment facilities.4 Some facilities may offer scholarships or grants that can make it possible to attend private addiction treatment centers.3
How Do I Find a Free Rehab Center?
If you are looking for a free rehab center, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers the Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator. This tool allows you to search for a facility by location and narrow the search based on the type of program, services offered, payment options, and a variety of other options.
Substance abuse services are handled differently in each state.2 The online directory of single state agencies for substance abuse services provides contact information for each state agency that offers treatment services. It can be a valuable resource for people with low income or those who do not have health insurance. State agencies can offer information about government- and state-funded facilities where you may qualify for low-cost or free treatment. You can find this information here.
To receive low-cost or free treatment at a state-funded rehab, you must meet specific state and local government criteria. You may be asked to provide information and documentation about:3
- Citizenship status.
- Family size.
- Lack of health insurance.
- Residency within the state where you are seeking treatment.
When Does Treatment Start?
Lack of health insurance and the prohibitively high cost of treatment is a major factor in preventing people from accessing treatment. Thus, the demand for state-funded rehab facilities is very high, with a limited number of spots available.
Long wait lists are common.5,6 It can take weeks or even months to get into a program.5,6 Unfortunately, the longer a person waits to get into a treatment program, the greater the likelihood that they will drop out before being admitted.5
Faith-Based Rehab Programs
Faith-based rehab programs incorporate religious and spiritual beliefs into their treatment philosophy.7 These programs may be associated with specific religions, generalized religious beliefs, or a sense of spirituality.7 Program requirements vary, but individuals may be expected to participate in prayer and meditation.7
Facilities associated with specific religious belief systems may require participants to attend religious services and Bible study, participate in penance, confess sins, adhere to specific dress codes and dietary laws, or be separated from participants of the opposite sex.7 Local religious organizations may be able to provide information on finding or getting into a faith-based rehab facility and may offer financial aid for traditional rehab programs.
Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous
Some peer-support programs, including Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), include elements of spirituality7 but are not affiliated with any specific religion or set of religious beliefs, focusing instead on a spiritual awakening.7
AA is a worldwide program that addresses alcoholism through the Twelve Steps.8 NA uses a similar Twelve Steps format to help people who want to stop using or stay abstinent from drugs.9 Membership in these groups free and open to anyone.9
The Twelve Steps involve admitting powerlessness over substances, developing a belief in and reliance on a Higher Power, conducting a moral inventory, making amends to people you have harmed, engaging in prayer and meditation, and participating in outreach to others struggling with addiction.10
Additional Addiction Treatment Options
State-funded and faith-based treatment programs may not be easily accessible to everyone. Long wait times, limited availability, and strict eligibility requirements can make it difficult to get accepted. If these programs aren’t available or don’t meet your needs, there are other options:
- Insurance can cover much of the cost of treatment. Some treatment programs may help you apply for state-sponsored health insurance.
- Scholarships from grants or charitable donations may help pay for a portion of treatment.
- Local non-profit programs may offer treatment on a sliding scale, meaning the cost is based on what you can afford to pay.
- Research studies or clinical trials may offer evidence-based or experimental treatment at no cost to you, provided that you are eligible to enroll and there is a study or trial in your area.
American Addiction Centers (AAC) offers effective addiction treatment and strives to provide care for anyone who struggles with substance use.11 If you are interested in learning more about seeking care but aren’t sure how to go about it, contact one of our admissions navigators today at 1-888-319-2606 Who Answers? . They can offer confidential, thorough information to get you started on the road to recovery. If you have health insurance and want to know more about what is covered, click here or complete the form below.
Recovery can feel overwhelming, especially if you don’t have the money or health insurance to seek care. However, there are options and resources that can help you get the care you need to recover. Free rehabs, faith-based programs, and self-help fellowships are just some of the ways you can start your recovery journey.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2020). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality.
- Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. (2000). Integrating substance abuse treatment and vocational services. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 38. HHS Publication No. (SMA) 12-4216. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2019). Paying for treatment.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2020). National survey of substance abuse treatment services (N-SSATS): 2019. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
- Andrews, C.M., Shin, H.-C., Marsh, J.C., & Cao, D. (2012). Client and program characteristics associated with wait time to substance abuse treatment entry. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 1-8.
- Democratic Staff of the Senate Committee on Finance. (2016). Dying waiting for treatment: The opioid use disorder treatment gap and the need for funding.
- Neff, J.A., Shorkey, C.T., & Windsor, L.C. (2006). Contrasting faith-based and traditional substance abuse treatment programs. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 30, 49-61.
- Alcoholics Anonymous World Services. (2020). What is A.A.?
- Narcotics Anonymous World Services. (1986). What is the Narcotics Anonymous Program?
- Alcoholics Anonymous World Services. The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.
- American Addiction Centers. (2020). About us.
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