Rehab can be expensive. If someone doesn’t have insurance or savings, the cost of rehab can be prohibitive.

People who have little or no financial resources still have numerous options. There are ongoing treatment programs that anyone can take advantage of regardless of whether or not they have insurance.

The Prevalence of Substance Abuse

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):

  • About 20 million people in the United States have a substance abuse issue.
  • Only 1 in 10 of these people get treatment.
  • About 4 out of 10 people affected by substance abuse problems can’t afford the treatment they need.
  • The cost-benefit analysis for treating any substance abuse issue clearly indicates that the benefits outweigh the costs, no matter how expensive the costs may be.

SAMHSA provides information about local treatment services that may be affordable. Some providers may offer free treatment services.

SAMHSA has published the Directory of Single State Agencies for Substance Abuse Services. Here, people can find suitable treatment programs in their state.

Clinical Trials and Professionals in Training

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) offers a chance for people to get involved in clinical trials for potential new treatments. Participating in a clinical trial may allow you to get a foot in the door for treatment of a substance abuse issue as well.

Check with local universities for opportunities to get treatment from graduate students as part of their training. Trained clinicians carefully supervise students. Because they are still in training, their care is offered at reduced rates.

Free Support Programs

Peer support or 12-step groups combine a spiritually oriented approach to recovery with an organized program that is very systematic.

Donations are requested at every meeting, but they are not required. Most people who donate give $1 at each meeting they attend.

The Major Strengths Of 12-Step Groups Include:

  • Strong support from people who can relate to the challenges of recovery.
  • An approach to recovery that is well-outlined.
  • Accessibility, as in major urban areas, there is a 12-step meeting offered at multiple times daily.

The Weaknesses Of These Groups Include:

  • Professionally trained treatment providers do not run them.
  • They offer no medical assistance.
  • They may not appeal to individuals who are not religious or spiritual.

Major 12-Step Groups Include:

There is a 12-step group for nearly every major type of substance abuse. The Salvation Army offers a spiritually based program of recovery that is run through donations. It is free for individuals who qualify.

Alternatives to the 12-Step Model

For those who are not interested in faith-based approaches, such as 12-step groups, some alternatives are basically free. These groups are run in a similar manner. Donations are requested at meetings but not required.

Some Of The More Popular 12-Step Alternatives Are:

Federal, State and Community Mental Health Options

Many cities have community mental health centers that offer treatment for individuals in need. State-run or local substance use disorder treatment organizations might offer scholarships for people in need. Visit your state government website to find out where these programs are available or contact the Second Chance Organization.

People who qualify should investigate using Medicaid to pay for substance use disorder treatment. Find out if you qualify on the Medicaid website. The number of treatment providers that accept Medicaid is limited, but this is still an option for many of the people who cannot afford private insurance.

Military veterans may automatically qualify for substance use disorder treatment. Contact the Veterans Administration to determine what services are offered in your area.

Because substance abuse has become such a major issue in the U.S., many states are funding substance abuse treatment through state-run facilities, such as community mental health centers.

To qualify for these programs, you must be a resident of the state, be able to demonstrate that you are in financial need, and provide evidence that you have a substance use disorder that requires treatment (typically a written referral or diagnosis from a physician). You can find more information about these programs on your state website.

Get Creative

Some organizations may have clinical psychology programs, social work programs, and counseling programs that offer therapy and treatment for certain types of problems on a sliding scale. This treatment is not free, but it is designed to be affordable for people without insurance. Crowdfunding has become a popular means to raise funds for various medical treatments, including rehab.

Those without the means to pay for addiction treatment have many options. There are free rehab programs offered by nonprofits and other organizations. Some may have long waiting lists, but representatives can refer callers to other support options. In addition, many rehab facilities offer ways to offset the overall cost of care.

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