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Public Financial Assistance for Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Programs

Questions about treatment?
  • Access to licensed treatment centers
  • Information on treatment plans
  • Financial assistance options

Public Financial and Government-Funded Alcohol and Drug Rehab Centers

Alcohol and drug rehab comes in all shapes and forms. The cost of rehab depends on whether treatment is provided in an outpatient setting or in an inpatient addiction treatment facility and the level or intensity of care each of these options provides.1 Residential inpatient rehab offers the most comprehensive treatment and it normally lasts the longest.2

But for many treatment-seeking individuals, treatment cost is a prohibitive factor. However, there are ways to get into rehab without having to pay the whole amount out of pocket.1 There are private for-profit and non-for-profit rehab options, as well as various other non-private forms of rehab.3 

These forms of treatment are funded through federal and state monies, jointly referred to as public assistance. Apart from applying for a grant or scholarship for rehab, if eligible, treatment-seeking individuals can seek other forms of financial assistance and explore diverse payment options available to them.1

Addressing the problem of nationwide substance abuse requires a nationwide approach, and that is where government-funded alcohol and drug rehab centers come in. On so many levels, substance abuse presents a problem for the public, and public assistance is necessary to put the problem under control through substance abuse prevention and treatment.4

An Overview of Federal & State-Funded Treatment

It was in 1935 that the federal government became actively involved in addiction research and treatment, and the very first federal treatment facility opened its doors in Lexington, Kentucky. It was the so-called Narcotic Farm, a U.S. Public Health Prison Hospital which was a federal prison for the rehabilitation of recovering individuals.5

Out of over 14,500 specialized drug treatment facilities in the United States, the majority are private facilities, but the rest get financial support through different forms of public assistance.6

According to the 2017 National Survey on Substance Abuse Treatment Services, there was a total of 289 federal-government funded rehab facilities in the nation. Additionally, 258 facilities were funded by the tribal government, 304 funded by state governments, and a total of 640 facilities funded by either the local, county or community government.3

What to Expect at a Government-Funded Rehab Center?

No two people with a substance use disorder have the same needs, which is why the focus of specialized rehabilitation facilities is to provide tailored care to each recovering individual.7

Government-funded rehab centers may not have the capacity to rise to this challenge due to limited resources and staffing. Some government-funded rehab centers only provide medically supervised detoxification services.4

Nevertheless, the protocol is similar in all rehab centers. It begins with an intake process when the person’s case is evaluated. In general, all rehab centers across the nation strive to provide structured care on a strictly defined schedule. Aside from meal time, a typical day at a government-funded rehab center entails attending individual or group therapy sessions, counseling and potentially other activities.4

Levels of Care at Government-Funded Rehab Centers

The level of care provided in government-funded rehabs depends on various factors, mainly funding and resources available. Unlike private facilities, government-funded rehab centers may be limited in terms of capacity, resources and staffing. The quality of aftercare they provide, which is an important aspect of the recovery process and a valuable means of relapse prevention, may be inadequate for the same reasons.4

Government Assistance for Substance Abuse Programs

Government assistance for different substance abuse programs may be available through:

  • Medicare: Medicare covers treatment considered medical necessity in Medicare-approved facilities/programs.8
  • Medicaid: Although Medicaid follows guidelines established by the federal government, specific eligibility requirements depend on the state. Reimbursement rates and covered services are determined accordingly.9
  • Grants: The Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant (SABG) is used to finance substance abuse prevention, treatment and support throughout the recovery process. This includes coverage for MAT medications for Opioid Use Disorder. The focus is on pregnant women, mothers with dependent children, and individuals who administer drugs intravenously.10
  • Scholarships: Scholarships are available to individuals who have exhausted all other options available, those who do not have any form of insurance, and those who need special treatment not covered by insurance. It’s worth noting that scholarships can be exceedingly difficult to obtain.11

However, those looking for government-assisted programs are entering a highly competitive environment. According to the 2017 Survey, out of 13,585 facilities in total nationwide, a whopping 7,163 were private non-profit facilities and 4,931 were private for-profit ones, whereas the rest were funded by different levels of government. This is why many decide to explore affordable private treatment options where they can count on quick admission into treatment.3

Who Should Consider Rehab Scholarships?

Individuals who may be eligible for scholarships for addiction treatment and rehab programs are those who need treatment, but wouldn’t be able to receive it without a scholarship. However, securing a scholarship can be difficult, but thankfully there are other financing options to explore.11

What Is the Difference Between Private Rehab and State-Funded Rehab Centers?

One way to compare these two types of facilities is to call hotlines affiliated with private and state or government-funded facilities for more information. Private rehab centers are often less crowded than state-funded ones. They typically offer a more comprehensive scope of services and amenities than their state-funded counterparts. Recovering individuals may receive a higher quality of care in private rehabilitation centers because staff members are oriented towards providing individualized care based on personalized treatment plans.6

Factors to consider when browsing rehab options include but are not limited to:4

  • Accreditation
  • Patients to staff ratio
  • Treatment standard
  • Access to treatment
  • Support groups and other forms of continuing care

When it comes to the success rate of private vs state-funded rehabs, private ones may have the upper hand as they normally have the means to follow the principles of effective treatment, which is something state-funded rehab facilities may not have due to lack of funding.4

What to Pack When Going for the Rehab Program?

This depends on the policy of individual rehab centers, whether government-funded, state-funded, or private, but individuals are normally instructed to bring only the basic essentials in terms of personal items.4 Some centers may allow clients to bring additional items in addition to the necessities. Treatment-seeking individuals are free to call for more information on these and other details relevant to their upcoming treatment.

How to Find Government Funded Rehab Programs Near Me?

There are different ways a treatment-seeking individual can get into a rehab through public assistance. Federal government-funded and state-funded drug or alcohol addiction outpatient and inpatient treatment near home can be difficult to find or difficult to access. But there may be county-funded and local government-funded alcohol & drug addiction treatment programs to explore.3

The United States government has established a website to help inclined treatment-seeking individuals have an easier way finding treatment nationwide.1 When publicly financed treatment is not an option, there are always low-cost private facilities to take into consideration.

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is a committed provider of quality care for individuals looking to overcome addiction. AAC has a helpline with navigators who can readily provide detailed information based on the initial assessment and put together a tailored financing plan based on a person’s insurance coverage and financial situation.

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The editorial staff of Projectknow.com is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands of pages for accuracy and relevance. Our reviewers consistently monitor the latest research from SAMHSA, NIDA, and other reputable sources to provide our readers the most accurate content on the web.
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