Free Drug Rehab Centers
A recent survey found that more than 37% of people who needed treatment for illicit drug or alcohol addiction did not get it because they did not have health insurance coverage or they could not afford the cost of treatment.1
Many facilities offer free and low-cost drug rehab programs to help people who desperately want to overcome their addictions, but who are unable to get access to or afford treatment.
If you do not qualify for a free program or are not able to get in for whatever reason, many programs offer sliding-scale fees and ability-to-pay programs. Government insurance programs can also help cover the cost of treatment.
How to Find Free and Low-Cost Drug Treatment Centers
The SAMHSA behavioral health treatment services locator also gives you information on how to contact each program.
The best places to look for low-cost and free substance abuse treatment centers are nonprofit and governmental agencies. However, these programs have specific eligibility requirements and may have a waitlist due to the high demand for their services.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
If you are looking for a free drug treatment center, start with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) behavioral health treatment services locator. Enter your city, state, or zip code to receive a list of low-cost, flexible payment, and free drug rehab centers in your area. You can also use the tool to look up free substance abuse recovery centers in an area where you would like to undergo treatment or in an area near someone you know who needs help.
The SAMHSA behavioral health treatment services locator also gives you information on how to contact each program. Reach out to each program you are considering to find out the program’s specific cost. Not all programs are completely free. Some may offer a sliding scale fee that depends on income, while others may require a flat fee for service.
Also, some of these programs accept Medicaid or Medicare. Even if you don’t currently have Medicaid or Medicare, you may be eligible to apply for these programs to get coverage for substance abuse treatment.
Each program will likely have its own set of eligibility criteria as well. For example, some programs only offer free or low-cost drug rehab to people who live within a specific county or a certain mile radius of the facility. Others may have income restrictions, may cater to veterans, may only treat specific addictions (such as alcoholism or opioid addiction), or offer gender-specific treatment (such as male-only or female-only programs).
Contact each program to find out more about the specific eligibility requirements.
Another option for finding a free drug rehab center is to look for faith-based programs. These programs often offer care at little to no cost.
- One of the most well known faith-based programs is The Salvation Army. The Salvation Army offers two substance abuse treatment programs: Adult Rehabilitation Centers and Harbor Light. Programs are located across the United States, and each program is funded through the sale of donated goods at one of the organization’s many thrift stores.4
- The Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Centers offer housing, work programs, individual and group therapy, and spiritual support.
- The Salvation Army’s Harbor Light Centers provide substance abuse treatment for low-income individuals. Some Harbor Light locations are free drug treatment centers, but many operate on a sliding scale based on individual income. Harbor Light Centers offer detox services, residential treatment, outpatient treatment, and transitional housing for adults.5
- Catholic Charities USA is another well-established faith-based drug treatment program with more than 160 locations around the country. Many locations are income-based or free substance abuse treatment centers that also offer comprehensive mental health care.
- Teen Challenge USA is a teen-focused, faith-based substance abuse treatment program with more than 200 programs around the country.7
State Drug Rehab Programs
State-funded treatment programs are substance abuse centers that receive their funding from the state. Most programs require applicants to show proof of residence for that particular state to receive services. Depending on the program and location, some state drug rehab programs may also require that you live within the same county that the program operates in or within a certain number of miles from the program location itself. These restrictions are in place so that services are evenly distributed across state residents in need.
In addition to residency restrictions, you may also need to show proof of income (or a lack thereof) and proof of citizenship.
Due to funding limitations, many state-funded low-cost and free treatment centers do not offer special amenities like many private programs do. They may not develop individualized treatment plans, treat mental health conditions, or be able to offer a high level of personalized care.
State-funded programs may also have waiting lists due to the high demand for low-cost treatment. Some programs may prioritize certain applicants, such as local residents and pregnant women. Contact your state-funded centers for more information about their eligibility requirements and availability.
If you want more information about free and low-cost drug rehab programs in your state, you can find the contact information for your state’s addiction treatment services department in the SAMHSA Directory for Substance Abuse Services.3
If you are struggling to find the program that’s right for you, consider these other options:
- 12-step self-help groups: Many people decide to work a 12-step program as their method of free substance abuse treatment. Programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are often effective due to the widespread availability of programs, the social support, and the sponsor element.
- Non-12-step self-help groups: Like 12-step programs, non-12 step programs do not provide detox, medication, or medical care. Instead, they provide ongoing social support and advice while you work through the personal issues that may have led you to drugs. These programs are often secular and focus on personal responsibility and self-empowerment.
- Scholarships through treatment programs: Some programs may offer scholarships to people who have trouble affording treatment. Ask the program you’re interested in if they have these opportunities.
- Medicare or Medicaid: These federal insurance programs are designed to bring health insurance coverage to women, children, low-income individuals, and families in need. Check to see if you are eligible to receive Medicare or Medicaid benefits.
- Health care treatment loans or borrowing from friends or family: Loans, health-based credit cards such as CareCredit, and borrowing money from friends or family may be good payment options. Getting healthy should be a top priority, and people in your life may want to help make that happen.
- Sliding scale and payment programs: Sliding scale programs base the cost of their program on each person’s unique income situation. If you have a low income, you may qualify for a low-cost substance abuse recovery program with a sliding scale. Many programs also allow you to pay back the cost of treatment over time instead of all at once.
To give you the best chance for success, the addiction treatment center you choose must be able to accommodate your needs and be a good financial fit as well.
If you’ve found a program but are on a waitlist, or you are still looking for the right program, you can get support in the meantime by attending 12-step programs and local support groups.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2014).Substance Use and Mental Health Estimates from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Overview of Findings.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (n.d.).Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2016). Directory of Single State Agencies (SSA) for Substance Abuse Services.
- The Salvation Army USA. (2017). Adult Rehabilitation.
- The Salvation Army USA. (2017). Harbor Light Centers.
- Catholic Charities USA. (2017). Combating Addiction And Recognizing “I Am a Child of God”
- Teen Challenge USA. (2017). About Teen Challenge USA.