Free Drug Rehab Centers: No-Cost Facilities

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There are millions of people in the United States struggling with addiction who would benefit from drug or alcohol rehab services who could benefit from free rehab. According to a recent report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), over 21 million individuals needed addiction treatment in 2018.1 Unfortunately, only 1 in 9 people in need of addiction treatment actually received treatment at a rehab facility.

One of the most common barriers to rehab is cost. Nearly 1 in 3 individuals who needed but did not receive addiction treatment reported a lack of healthcare coverage or not being able to afford the cost of rehab.1

For those individuals lacking health insurance and unable to pay the costs of treatment, there is the option to seek services through a free addiction treatment program. Free rehab programs are provided to eligible clients at no cost and are commonly offered at various government-funded hospitals and rehab centers, non-profit rehab facilities, and rehab centers run by faith-based organizations.


Video: How Do I Find a Free Rehab: Common Questions about Rehab


What Are Free Rehab Centers?

Free drug and alcohol rehab centers are intended to help people with substance abuse problems who do not have the means to pay for addiction treatment. These rehab centers provide a variety of treatment and services, ranging from detoxification to long-term residential care.

The sources of funding for free rehab centers vary and may include charitable donations, private endowments, and government grants. There are also certain organizations that award scholarships to people who can’t afford the cost of rehab, allowing them to receive treatment at privately-owned rehab centers.


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Free Rehab Programs: What are the Different Types?

Non-Profit Rehabilitation Facilities

There are many non-profit organizations that either operate treatment centers or provide funding to centers that offer free drug rehab programs for those in need. These non-profit organizations also provide support to people living with addiction, raise awareness, and advocate for supportive legislation.

Many nonprofit organizations focus on providing treatment and recovery services to specific disadvantaged populations. Some of these organizations include:

  • The Amy Winehouse Foundation, a charity that directly funds a recovery house for young women, aged 18-30, who are overcoming addiction.
  • Gearing Up, a community organization that offers advice and encouragement to women struggling with addiction through group support programs that are centered around cycling. This organization also runs a facility that provides evidence-based behavioral therapies to women combating drug and alcohol addiction, domestic abuse, and incarceration.
  • To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA), a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to providing help to people struggling with addiction, depression, self-injury, and suicidal thoughts. Since it was created in 2007, TWLOHA has raised millions of dollars to directly fund treatment and recovery programs.
  • Phoenix House, a foundation that runs more than 130 drug and alcohol treatment centers across 10 states. This nonprofit organization primarily operates inpatient treatment facilities but also offers outpatient care and sober living facilities for those in transition.
  • Rosecrance, a large nonprofit organization that runs treatment centers that provide inpatient and outpatient addiction services for adults, teens, and children.

Faith-Based Drug and Alcohol Rehab

Several faith-based organizations offer free drug and alcohol rehab that is centered around faith, and many programs do not require participants to subscribe to any specific religious beliefs. Within this type of rehab program, individuals struggling with addiction look for guidance from a higher power to help themselves stay strong during their journey to recovery.

Some of the most well-known substance abuse treatment programs targeting addicts with a strong religious mindset are Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). These free support group-based programs are based on a 12-step approach that includes:2

  • Admitting you are powerless
  • Accepting that only a Higher Power can help you
  • Turning your will and your life over to God
  • Making a moral inventory
  • Admitting your wrongs
  • Being ready to let God remove your shortcomings
  • Making amends to those you have harmed
  • Improving your conscious contact with God through prayer and meditation
  • Spreading the word

The Salvation Army runs one of the largest faith-based addiction treatment programs in the United States. This faith-based organization currently provides spirituality-based residential alcohol and drug rehab programs at 119 adult rehabilitation centers located throughout the country.3 These free programs provide room and board, group and individual counseling, spiritual direction, employment, and life-skills development.

Government-Funded Rehab Programs

There are many government-funded rehab programs that are available to individuals free of charge. These include programs offered at state-funded rehab centers and federal government-funded facilities, such as hospitals and treatment centers run by the Department of Veteran's Affairs (VA). SAMHSA also provides grants to public and private non-profit rehab facilities to directly cover the costs of rehab for those who cannot afford alcohol and drug treatment.


Who Qualifies for Free Rehabs?

The treatment centers run by nonprofit organizations will often provide payment assistance for those in need of services. Several nonprofits offer free treatment at their own rehab centers or at private facilities through scholarships.  Many religious organizations also offer payment assistance to individuals who qualify, and several religious organizations offer faith-based drug and alcohol rehab for free as part of their ministry services.

Most government-funded rehab programs have strict requirements for eligibility. If you apply for these programs, you will likely be required to show proof of US citizenship, income, lack of adequate insurance, and state residency.

Veterans Alcohol and Drug Dependence Rehabilitation Programs are only available to eligible veterans receiving care from the VA system.4 These free addiction treatment programs include various services such as detoxification, rehabilitation, and psychiatric care.


Pros and Cons of Free Rehab Centers

Some major advantages of free rehab centers include the price of treatment as well as the ability to attend programs that are run by competent, compassionate, and properly trained professionals.

Advantages of Free Drug Rehab Center

The major advantage of free rehab centers is the price of treatment. Because these facilities provide drug and alcohol rehab free of charge, people who would otherwise be unable to afford rehab can receive the treatment and support they need to address their addiction. Free rehab centers also administer services in a controlled environment that secludes program participants from the outside world, an important feature that ensures safety and promotes recovery.

The ability to attend programs that are run by competent, compassionate, and properly trained professionals is another advantage of free rehab centers. For the most part, you can expect the experienced staff at free rehab centers to provide quality care utilizing proven techniques and evidence-based behavioral therapies.

Disadvantages of Free Rehab

Although free rehab is an invaluable resource for many people struggling with addiction, there are some  disadvantages to these programs, especially when compared to the treatment and services available through paid rehab centers.

Due to limited budgets and a lack of resources, many free rehab centers are forced to use outdated equipment and facilities. Free rehab centers may not utilize the latest technology in addiction science but instead use older, tried-and-true methods that may not be as effective as the newest therapies available at more up-to-date private facilities.

Many free rehab centers are overwhelmed by the demand for their programs. As a result, most free rehab centers are nearly always operating at full capacity. Waiting lists are a major disadvantage of free rehabilitation programs. Many programs have long waiting lists, although certain high-risk individuals, such as pregnant intravenous (IV) drug users, may receive priority for immediate admission into an addiction treatment program.

Studies have shown that people who enter addiction treatment after being on a waiting list have poorer treatment outcomes compared to people who receive treatment immediately.5 A delayed start to treatment can also result in a more severe addiction and an increased risk for medical problems such as an overdose.

Another disadvantage of free rehab is the lack of treatment options and amenities that are available. Although the cost advantage is unmatched, these programs typically provide bare-bones treatment with only the most basic of services. This is especially evident when you consider the customizable treatments plans, modern facilities, and vast array of luxury-hotel like amenities that are provided at many private rehab centers.


How to Enroll in a Free Drug Rehab Center?

The first step is finding a free drug rehabilitation center. Fortunately, there are many resources available that can guide your research and help you find a free rehab center. These include:

  • The Behavioral Treatment Services Locator. This tool provided by SAMHSA allows you to find nearby addiction treatment centers that offer income-based fees, lower prices, or payment assistance. You can also reach out to private rehab centers in the area and ask about the availability of scholarship programs and sliding scale fees.
  • Single State Agencies (SSAs) for Substance Use Services. This directory provides contact information for the state government agencies that coordinate the delivery of addiction treatment services to individuals who are uninsured or have low incomes. Call your state agency and ask about any government-funded rehab centers where you may be qualified to receive treatment.
  • Local churches and other faith-based organizations. Contact these organizations to find out if they provide any free rehab programs.

Once you find a suitable rehab center, call the program manager and confirm all eligibility criteria. Finally, collect all of the documents (such as those that verify income, insurance, and residence) that you will need to complete your enrollment.


Alternate Options for Someone Who Can’t Afford Treatment?

There are other resources available for people who want to get clean but cannot afford the cost of treatment. For example, many rehab centers will work with clients to create a personalized payment plan that may include options such as sliding scales, payment assistance, or private financing.

Another option is to consider participation in a clinical trial study. The Clinical Trials database, a resource provided by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, contains a comprehensive list of privately and publicly funded clinical studies conducted around the world. This database can be used to find clinical studies in drug rehabilitation that are currently accepting participants. In addition to being provided with all treatment at no cost, you may also be compensated for your time and participation.

Online rehab is another treatment option for people who cannot cover the costs of traditional rehab. The fees are typically lower than those of traditional rehab programs and can vary based on the specifics of the program. Reduced fees are also available through most companies on a case-by-case basis. These programs offer convenient scheduling and private addiction treatment via the internet, and most include services like individual and group sessions led by addiction counselors, peer support, and tools for recovery. Although this form of rehab can be effective, it will only be beneficial to individuals with discipline and determination, as these programs are self-administered.


People Also Ask

I am on probation; which rehabs are free?

In most cases, the defendant is responsible for the costs of court-ordered rehab. The court will never be required to pay for someone’s addiction treatment. Centers that are set up for court-ordered rehab usually provide services based on a sliding scale. If the individual seeking treatment has no income, they will likely not have to pay any fees for their treatment.


American Addiction Centers accepts many insurance plans and can work with you on a manageable payment plan.


Sources

  1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2019). Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
  2. Alcoholics Anonymous. (2016). The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.
  3. The Salvation Army. (2019). Combat Addiction.
  4. S. Department of Veteran's Affairs. (2019). Veterans Alcohol and Drug Dependence Rehabilitation Program.
  5. Chun, J., Guydish, J.R., Silber, E., Gleghorn, A. (2008). Drug Treatment Outcomes for Persons on Waiting Lists. Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse, 34(5), 526-533.
Last updated on August 3, 2020
2020-08-03T11:23:12-07:00
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