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Is Government-Sponsored Rehab for You? (& How to Find One)

There were over 20 million people battling addiction in the United States in 2016, and more than 14,500 drug abuse and addiction treatment centers.

There are various types of drug rehab programs out there, ranging from outpatient programs to hospitalized care. Programs can vary greatly in the types of services offered, methods used, and overall cost.

Drug rehab is generally either public, which means it is government-sponsored and often funded through grants and federal and/or state monies, or private. Public programs offer care to all eligible individuals and often have specific admission criteria, methods, treatment guidelines, and time constraints. Private programs may be more readily available and able to offer additional individualized care.

Drug rehab programs vary by location. Each state will have specific requirements and variable behavioral health treatment options.

sign for rehabilitation

Understanding Types of Rehab

Addiction is a brain disease. It is complex with many nuances, so treatment will not look the same for everyone.

Drug rehab often begins with a detoxification program that provides initial physical stabilization and safety while the drugs process out of the brain and body. Drug rehab programs often include:

  • Behavioral therapies.
  • Group and individual counseling.
  • Relapse prevention programs.
  • Skills training.
  • Evaluation and treatment of co-occurring disorders.
  • Medication management.
  • Support groups.
  • Aftercare programs.

Drug rehab is offered in a variety of settings, including outpatient through clinics and doctors’ offices as well as community-based providers, nonprofit agencies, and state-supported programs. Inpatient services are provided at hospitals as well as public and private drug rehab facilities.

NIDA publishes that treatment should be specific to each individual and provide a range of options with follow-up care for long-term recovery.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 includes both mental health and substance abuse treatment as “essential health benefits,” requiring that they are covered under health insurance and federally supported Medicare/Medicaid programs. This helps to open the door to treatment options for more people and increase access to care.

Public drug rehab programs provide services to individuals who may not be able to afford it otherwise, including those without health insurance coverage.

Specifics of Government-Sponsored Rehab

man receiving rehab treatment

Public drug rehab programs are generally run through each individual state since government and state funding is used to offer these programs for low or no cost to eligible individuals. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) aids in providing grant funding to government-sponsored and public health programs. This funding is generally doled out to state behavioral health offices, which then trickle the money down to regional, or county-based, public health facilities or offices.

Typically, services are directly offered through community-based providers at a local level. Each state runs behavioral health services a little differently, and coverage can vary depending on where you live. To qualify for government-sponsored rehab services, you will likely need to fit into the following criteria:

  • Be a citizen of the United States
  • Be a resident in the coverage area
  • Have a medical need for treatment
  • Meet specific financial eligibility requirements

Again, treatment services and offerings, as well as requirements for receiving public care, depend on each individual state-based system and where you live exactly. Services may be covered completely or partially depending on specific income and family financial status. Children, pregnant women, intravenous drug (IV) users, and individuals in immediate crisis are often given priority treatment, commonly being offered services first.

There can be a waiting list for public drug rehab programs. The funding only goes so far, and there is regularly more demand than funding.

Government-funded rehab programs may only be able to offer the basic level of care — generally detox, counseling, and peer support — and often will not have the means to provide highly specialized care. While individualized care is often ideal, public treatment programs can still be beneficial and promote recovery. Any form of treatment can be helpful.

Addiction treatment programs can provide time for the brain to reset itself, a structure for learning healthy habits, and ongoing support for recovery. NIDA reports that continued support can help to minimize instances of relapse and aid in managing the disease long term.

health insurance depiction

Paying for Rehab

Costs for drug rehab can be highly variable. Government-funded and public treatment programs are typically free or low-cost, generally based on what a family is able to pay. Costs can range from nothing to up to a few thousand dollars. Medicare and Medicaid coverage can be used to help cover drug rehab costs as well.

Private drug rehab programs can be more expensive, but health insurance coverage may be able to help offset some of the costs. In general, you are going to get what you pay for.

Public treatment services can be limited in what they are able to provide based on funding and the number of individuals requiring services. There is often a waiting list for treatment services.

Private programs have access to the newest research and evidence-based methods. They are able to provide highly specialized care, more amenities for comfort, and commonly able to take people in immediately. NIDA publishes that access to swift treatment can be essential to healing, and drug rehab should address all aspects of a person’s life in order to promote a long-term recovery.

There are many resources available to help pay for rehab, including grants, scholarships, loans, and payment plans. Treatment centers can provide insight on ways to pay for care.

How to Find the Right Rehab Program

For information on finding government-sponsored drug rehab in your area, check with your local public health department. SAMHSA publishes a listing of Single State Agencies (SSA) that provide or oversee public substance abuse treatment services within the specified state. SAMHSA also hosts a Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator that can provide you with information on local licensed drug rehab options with a full breakdown on what each provider has to offer and payment options.

When looking for a good fit with drug rehab, the following components are beneficial:

  • Individual and specialized care accomplished through detailed assessments prior to admission
  • Comprehensive program addressing the whole person, including lifestyle changes to improve and sustain recovery
  • Full continuum of care with seamless transitions as needs change
  • Support and aftercare services to help maintain sobriety and minimize relapse in recovery

Regardless of the type of drug rehab program chosen, NIDA recommends that the program last at least 90 days. The longer a person stays in treatment, the better. Longer time in rehab means more time to establish new lifestyle patterns and habits.

The level of care needed varies from person to person. For example, outpatient services may be beneficial for individuals who have been battling drug abuse for a shorter time, are not as physically dependent on drugs, and need to have flexible scheduling due to familial or other obligations. An inpatient program typically provides the highest standard and level of care, and it can be a great way to build a strong foundation for recovery.

Trained professionals at a specialized drug rehab facility can answer questions and help you determine what level and type of care will be optimal for you.

family at the top of a mountain

SOURCES

Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. (September 2017). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Drug Addiction Treatment in the United States. (January 2018). National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction. (January 2019). National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Coverage. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Grants. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

How Effective Is Drug Addiction Treatment? (January 2018). National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Principles of Effective Treatment. (January 2018). National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Directory of Single State Agencies (SSA) for Substance Abuse Services. (December 2016). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

How Long Does Drug Addiction Treatment Usually Last? (January 2018). National Institute on Drug Abuse.