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A Guide to Low-Cost Treatment for Addiction



When someone is struggling with addiction, getting help is easier said than done. Everything costs either time or money (often both), and when someone needs help to rebuild their life, that’s a tall order that usually comes at a high cost.

However, another rule of life is if there’s something that can be done, there are often several ways to do it.

There are many low- or no-cost avenues to finding help for alcohol or substance addiction, but they aren’t the easiest to find. That’s why we thought we would help people find them.

Types of Rehabilitation

First, it may be best to understand the different ways addiction treatment can work. It often depends on the type and severity of the addiction.

Moderate addiction may be treated with outpatient methods, where the patient visits the center regularly to receive treatment but otherwise goes about their lives.

More severe cases may require inpatient care where the patient lives at the treatment center for the treatment’s duration. Inpatient programs vary in length, but common setups are 30-, 60- and 90-day programs. Because they include the cost of living in the facility, they’re invariably more expensive than outpatient treatment methods.

While outpatient treatment may cost anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars, inpatient methods almost always cost many thousands of dollars.

Outpatient care may be made more expensive, however, if tools such as medication or detox are necessary. These also have varying prices due to frequency and volume of usage, but it will increase the cost significantly.

The good news is rehabilitation treatment is covered by many insurance programs and companies, including Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance and military insurance. Unfortunately, many people are without insurance, including many who are struggling with addiction.

What options exist for those who don’t have it covered financially?

State-Funded Facilities

Most public health services and facilities include an addiction-treatment center that is free to qualifying applicants.

Qualification standards vary slightly from state to state, but they typically stipulate the applicant is a legal resident of the state and the U.S., has a provable need for addiction help, and has a visible need for financial help. Preference is often shown for especially at-risk people, such as pregnant women or recent mothers.

Finding these no-cost facilities is not itself a difficult task, but it’s difficult to discern the free facilities from the paid ones without cold-calling them and asking.



To make things easier, you can contact your state’s agency for Substance Abuse Services via the directory maintained by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

These State-Specific Agencies (SSAs) can help treatment-seekers find free or low-cost help that suits their specific needs in their area. But what if the person seeking free treatment simply doesn’t qualify for it?

Alternative Routes

Many public and private facilities offer methods of financial aid, including grants, which sometimes are even referred to as “scholarships.” Facilities also often offer loan and repayment options. There are also several loan companies specifically for medical financing.

Other alternatives include support groups and 12-step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, which often hold meetings open to the public, as well as other free services – some even offer entire programs for free.

However, it should be noted that these programs should be used to supplement treatment and not be used in place of it. The addicted person should still try to find viable treatment. That said, every professional would also agree getting some help, even if it’s incomplete, is better than getting no help at all.

Striking a sort of middle balance would be to seek religious treatment. Not every religious program is free, but a large proportion of them are.

Most faiths and denominations have some connections to a treatment program. These programs may vary greatly from one another – some are held at live-in facilities and retreats while others are regular meetings like the Anonymous programs above.

However, these religious programs almost never include medical treatment such as detoxification. So, these are also meant to be used in conjunction with professional medical attention.

Is It Worth It?

Many people put into this position may understand the importance of addiction treatment but be skeptical of how good a cheap or public service can be. After all, “you get what you pay for,” right?

However, free addiction services are nothing to shake a stick at. They have helped many, many people regain control of their lives when they had no other options.

The treatment available may not be the best in the whole wide world, but every medical professional will agree, again, some help is better than no help, and sometimes, we all need a little help.

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