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How to Easily Find a Free or Low-Cost Drug Rehab Near You

While many people are deterred by the high costs of addiction treatment programs, the costs of addiction itself are far greater. Aside from the mental and emotional toll that addiction takes on individuals, as well as their family and friends, addiction costs the economy billions of dollars each year.


The Cost of Addiction

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), expenditures total over $600 billion a year in health and social services related to addiction issues in the U.S. Drug addiction treatment helps to address drug use and keep its associated costs from being even higher.

Studies estimate that for every dollar that is invested in addiction treatment, there is a return of $4 to $7 saved on crime, theft, and criminal justice costs. When health care costs are factored into the mix, every dollar invested in addiction treatment saves $12 in addiction expenses.

In addition to the monetary savings that addiction treatment affords, individuals and their communities greatly benefit from addiction treatment programs. Effective addiction treatment helps people maintain healthier interpersonal relationships, be more productive in the workplace, and experience fewer drug-related accidents.

With the cost of drug addiction being so high to the individual and the country, the real question is how can you not afford rehab?

Costs of Rehab

Although the need for drug rehab is well established, the costs of attending high-quality programs can be more than some people can afford. How much treatment will cost is one of the first questions people often ask when they first start thinking about getting help.

The average cost of drug rehab programs in the United States is estimated to be around $3,800 per month, though this number is skewed by luxury treatment programs.

Standard costs for various types of treatment programs include:

  • Private residential programs: $7,500 to $20,000 per month
  • Luxury rehab programs: $20,000 to $100,000 per month
  • Outpatient programs: $1,400 to $10,000 per month
  • Nonprofit or governmental programs: often charged on a sliding scale based on your income
  • Free programs: free of charge to qualifying individuals

The total costs of rehab vary based upon the level of services you require. The type of treatment you need, as well as the length of your program, will greatly impact how much you have to pay.

Additionally, the amenities offered by the treatment program can greatly increase the costs of treatment. While it may be nice to receive treatment in a luxury setting, it is not necessary for treatment to be effective and will cost you significantly more money.

recovery sign

Is Free Rehab Possible?

Worrying about how to pay for rehab should not be a barrier to treatment for you. For this reason, there are free rehab programs available across the country.

There are a few different routes you can take as you search for a free rehab program. Free treatment programs are offered by:

  • State and local governments. Many state and local organizations receive government funding to provide addiction treatment services to low-income individuals in need.
  • Religious organizations. Religious organizations, such as the Salvation Army, offer free alcohol and drug recovery programs around the country.
  • Community support groups. Support groups, such as Alcoholic Anonymous, are free and invaluable for people in recovery from any variety of substance abuse and mental health conditions.

It is possible to access free rehab services near you, though you may not be able to get them right away. When services are free, there are often long waiting lists before space in programs you are interested in may open up.

Additionally, you may be bombarded with a lot of paperwork, just to get yourself registered for a waitlist. Especially for government-funded programs, there are many regulations that must be met, which often require many bureaucratic steps to be completed along the way.

Using Your Insurance to Pay for Rehab

If you are fortunate enough to have health insurance, there is a good chance that part of your plan covers treatment for substance use disorders. Nearly all major health insurance companies provide coverage for addiction treatment services. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that was enacted in 2010, all Marketplace insurance plans must cover mental health and substance abuse services.

Mental health and substance abuse services are now considered to be essential health benefits, meaning they must be offered through all plans with no limitations. All insurance plans participating in the insurance marketplace must cover the following:

  • Behavioral health treatment (therapy and counseling)
  • Mental and behavioral health inpatient services
  • Substance use disorder treatment

While it is reassuring to know that addiction treatment services are covered by insurance, it is up to you to verify the exact services that are covered by your plan. Insurance plans vary greatly in terms of the level of services they provide and the out-of-pocket expenses that are expected to be covered by the individual.

Most plans will require you to pay some kind of copay or meet a minimum deductible before your insurance benefits kick in. Most insurance plans are unlikely to cover 100 percent of treatment services, but they will make treatment much more affordable.

If you want to find out what treatment services are covered by your insurance, contact your insurance company directly. Most insurance cards have direct contact numbers for behavioral health services on the back of the card. If you are not sure which number to call first, begin with the general customer service line and they can refer you to the right department.

In addition to customer service lines, nearly all insurance companies have online patient portals. If you have not explored your own patient portal yet, visit your health insurance company’s website and register for your own account. Through most portals, you can verify your member benefits, explore local treatment options, and access the services you need.

sign for rehabilitation

How to Find Free or Low-Cost Rehab

Finding free or low-cost rehab can be done in a variety of ways. If you are confused about the whole addiction treatment process and would like to speak with someone about your particular situation, your health care provider is a great resource. They can assess your level of need and refer you to appropriate and affordable rehab options near you.

If you prefer to start by exploring your options on your own, there are many online resources available. Free and confidential services are offered through the following organizations:

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA): An online Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator is available, as is a national helpline (1-800-662-HELP), 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK): This hotline provides guidance on suicide prevention, as well as issues of alcohol and drug abuse. It connects callers with local mental health and substance abuse professionals.
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) (1-800-950-6264): This organization provides local self-help groups for people struggling with mental illness as well as co-occurring disorders like substance abuse.
  • Mental Health America: This group provides many resources for finding help in your area, including local support groups.
  • The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids: This organization is for parents of youth and adolescents struggling with substance abuse. Information and resources are available, as is on-on-one support through the parent helpline (1-855-378-4373).
  • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA): For people specifically struggling with alcohol-related problems, the NIAAA Alcohol Treatment Navigator is available to help you find evidenced-based alcohol treatment near you.

Finding free or low-cost treatment may seem like a difficult task, but there are many resources available to make it easy for you. All of the above organizations strive to increase the accessibility of affordable treatment options to people who need it.

Taking advantage of free helplines allows you to speak directly with someone who is informed about treatment options. They will be able to make referrals that are the most appropriate for you based on your treatment needs, goals, and what you can afford to pay.

Is Free Rehab Still Good?

handing being held from slipping

A question that many people have about free or low-cost rehab is if it is still any good, and the answer is yes.

Many rehabs are able to offer free services because they receive government funding, which means they are held to specific quality standards and treatment requirements. All government-funded programs are required to use licensed professionals and evidence-based methods that are proven to be effective for addiction treatment.

Most private treatment programs hold themselves to the same high standards, but they are not legally required to do so, as their funding is coming from private sources. Luxury rehabs are certainly comfortable and provide some great amenities, but they are not always the answer to the best treatment options. If you are able to access free or low-cost rehab, do not hesitate to take advantage of the care it has to offer.


Is Drug Addiction Treatment Worth Its Cost? (January 2018). National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Mental Health & Substance Abuse Coverage. (2019). U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The Costs of Alcohol and Drug Treatment. (July 2018). Verywell Mind.

Where Can Family Members Go for Information on Treatment Options? (January 2018). National Institute on Drug Abuse.

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