According to a study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, substance abuse is not only a very worrisome issue but also a very expensive one. Cost may be associated with time or productivity reductions at work, crime and the costs of medical care. And these hard dollar costs do not include anything related to the damage done to individual’s lives, relationships, and children and youth affected by drug abuse and addiction at home.
Some people consider addiction to be a result of individual weakness. But there is clear evidence that addiction is a tough disease that changes the brain and gives the addiction a stronghold. Willpower is not powerful in this case.
However, there are programs that can help people free themselves from drug and other addictions and lead happy and meaningful lives. Even if an addiction is deep seated and chronic, people can get help and live addiction-free lives. This is critical, as the rate of overdose deaths has increased pretty dramatically since the year 2000. In 2000 over 64,000 lives were lost in the U.S. due to drug overdoses — and that number includes prescription opioids, not just drugs that are illegal.
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There are a number of types of support for those suffering from addictions. Some involve funding from grants then go to states and are then passed along to local agencies and non-profits. (You can find out more about these kinds of grants in Block Grants).
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration also offers a lot of useful information and publications which can be ordered on their site. These include information about suicide prevention, pain management for vets and service members struggling with Opioid use, how to care for your family after they’ve received treatment in the Emergency Department and more. Typically these materials are available in Spanish as well as English.There is also a highlighted icon that you can click to look for where you can get treatment, with information about numerous helplines and treatment services. There is also a Newsroom topic that provides the latest on developments in finding and receiving help.
If you or someone you care about has an addiction problem — or if you think you may have one — it’s easy (and safe and confidential) to find someone you can talk to. If you go to the website of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration online at findtreatment.samhsa.gov you will be able to speak to a professional anonymously and confidentially. They also say that they do not collect or keep information you provide in their files, and they also do not keep the terms you used to search for help to ensure you remain anonymous. So don’t be afraid that if you call or contact them online then suddenly lots of people know you might have a problem — that isn’t the case. If you are not able or don’t want to go online, you can also call them at 1-800-662-HELP or for TTY 1-800-487-4889.
The recommendations you get there may or not be for free or low cost services. Be sure to specify that you are looking for something in your price range. If you cannot afford help at a treatment center — and plenty of people can’t — beware of providers who promise to help you for very low cost. Too many then recommend possibly dangerous treatments like going cold-turkey or trying to do your own detox at home.
Fortunately here are other possibilities for you. There are some free centers that help with rehabilitation and there is government assistance as well. Also, if you have insurance, treatment may be covered by your plan. Here are some resources to try:
Your State: There are funds available for dealing with rehabilitation from drug and/or alcohol addiction. You do not need any insurance or any income in order to take advantage of these services. You will have to prove that you are a resident of that particular state, that you don’t have income or insurance and that you are a legal resident of the U.S. Note: the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) also provides a directory of state agencies that provide Substance Abuse Services. You can find it on the SAMHSA website to see if there is an agency near you or at least in your state.
There are a few major organizations that provide rehabilitation services at no cost to the client. One of the best known is the Salvation Army. They provide rehab centers as well as detox centers and places for clients to live. Many churches and other non-profits provide 12-step programs which are very effective and do not cost anything. These services though do not include detox programs.
Some centers, state funded or otherwise, give preference to particular types of clients. For free services, the primary qualification typically is that you are unable to pay. For some centers priority is given to particular individuals such as women who are pregnant, those whose addiction is to IV drugs, and to women who have become addicted within a year after they have had a baby.
- On occasion SAMHSA offers grants to those who are not insured and cannot afford treatment.
- Some organizations and treatment centers have funding for scholarships for low income applicants. Be sure to ask about this when you are looking for the right treatment center for you. These are most often available at private treatment centers and are supported by non-profits and concerned individuals who wish to help.
- Insurance is an option if you have a private plan or if you are covered by an Affordable Care Act program. The latter require programs provided by state exchanges or Medicaid that are part of the ACA expansion to cover addiction treatment. (There still may be a necessary copay or deductible before treatment is “free”. )
- If none of the above options pan out you might be able to get a low cost loan from your treatment center. Or you might be able to raise funds through a crowdfunding program. See a review of current crowdfunding platforms in the article Free Money 2015 to learn which ones are specifically for personal/medical needs.
- 12 Step Programs: These programs, often offered by non-profits or churches, are free of charge. Though they don’t include detox services they do offer strong current and ongoing support along with the program. And such programs have an impressive success rate for those who stick with it. Sometimes you can find such programs along with additional help and support such as live-in facilities, life skills training, help finding a job and more. One example is City Team Ministries. They have several locations throughout the country, worth checking out to see if there is one in your area.