Finding the right program

When you start looking for substance abuse treatment, you may see advertisements for programs in tranquil settings with gorgeous views. While amenities like that are nice to have, they likely come with a big price tag. Focus on what is truly important: appropriate licensing, quality of care during the program, follow-up services, and staff credentials. Things to check include:

An overview of substance abuse treatment programs

Types of drug treatment programs
Residential treatment – Residential treatment involves living at a treatment facility while undergoing intensive treatment during the day. Residential treatment normally lasts from 30-90 days.
Partial hospitalization – Partial hospitalization is for people who require ongoing medical monitoring but have a stable living situation. These treatment programs usually meet at the hospital for 3-5 days a week, 4-6 hours per day.
Intensive outpatient program (IOP) – Not a live-in treatment program, but it still requires a major time commitment. Intensive outpatient programs usually meet at least 3 days a week for 2-4 hours a day or more. The major focus is relapse prevention. These outpatient programs are often scheduled around work or school.
Counseling (Individual, Group, or Family) – Works best in conjunction with other types of treatment or as follow-up support. Therapy can help you identify the root causes of your drug use, repair your relationships, and learn healthier coping skills.
Sober living – Normally follows intensive treatment like residential treatment. You live with other recovering addicts in a supportive drug-free environment. Sober living facilities are useful if you have nowhere to go or you’re worried that returning home too soon will lead to relapse.
Brief intervention – Only appropriate for those at risk for drug abuse or drug addiction, not those who have already developed a serious problem. Consists of several visits to a healthcare professional to discuss the harmful effects of drug abuse and strategies for cutting back.

Finding a substance abuse treatment program in the U.S.

To find drug addiction treatment programs and addiction specialists in your area:

Call SAMHSA’s referral helpline

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers an extensive listing of licensed, certified drug and alcohol treatment facilities. You can access the database in two ways:

Another place to look is your State Substance Abuse Agency. States often have their own listings, toll-free hotlines, and information about accreditation. You can also ask your doctor or therapist about programs they recommend.

Finding a substance abuse treatment program in other countries

In the UK:

In Australia:

In Canada:

Paying for substance abuse treatment in the U.S.

Substance abuse treatment costs vary widely depending on your individual treatment needs, your insurance, and the facility. Here are some tips to help you pay for treatment:

More help for substance abuse treatment

Addiction Help Center: No matter how bad the addiction or how powerless you feel, there is hope and help available. Don’t give up, even if you’ve tried and failed before.

Substance abuse and recovery

Recovery support

Resources and references

Finding substance abuse treatment and help

Seeking Drug Abuse Treatment: Know What to Ask – Helpguide guide to the questions you should ask when searching for the right treatment for a drug problem. (National Institute on Drug Abuse)

Which Treatment Should I Pursue? – Tips for what types of drug treatments to pursue, based on the severity of your addiction and your readiness for change. (HBO.com)

Professional help for substance abuse treatment and recovery

In the U.S., search a directory of substance abuse services and treatment programs across the country, from the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration.

In the UK, find local drug addiction support from the NHS, or call the 24-hour Frank helpline on 0800 776600 for more information about drugs and the different options available for help and support.

In Australia, find drug and alcohol services in each State/Territory from the Department of Health & Aging.

In Canada, find treatment services from Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.

Authors: Melinda Smith, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. Last updated: August 2015.

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