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Free, Confidential, 24/7 Addiction Treatment: SAMHSA’s National Helpline

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

What Is SAMHSA and SAMHSA.gov?

SAMHSA stands for Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agency established in 1992, as a replacement for the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration.1

The goal of SAMHSA is to help all affected by substance abuse and mental illnesses by improving the quality and availability of treatment and rehabilitation services and options. This applies to private or government-based, as well by supporting prevention and early intervention efforts nationwide.1

The agency’s website, which can be reached at samhsa.gov, provides valuable insight to millions of Americans battling some form of substance abuse or a worsening mental health condition, be it their own or that of a loved one. For many, it takes time to admit and acknowledge the problem, but it often takes even more time to take action and find a solution to the problem. That is what SAMHSA strives to achieve.1

Why Is SAMHSA Important?

It is the mission of SAMHSA to reduce the damage unaddressed substance use and mental health disorders can cause to individuals and the society. One way to do that is to promote and help build safe and effective programs for people suffering from or at risk of developing substance use disorders and mental conditions. The agency also provides funding to help communities take a proactive role in the fight against alcohol and substance abuse.1

SAMHSA is important because it promotes and expands access to mental health care. It also provides relevant information about treatment and recovery without discriminating against individuals battling substance abuse or mental health disorders.1

SAMHSA Statistics

SAMHSA relies on statistical data to adjust its course of action. These findings are based on the following:2

  • Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS): a summary of demographic information, characteristics and outcomes of treatment for substance use among clients aged 12 years and older at treatment centers in all the 50 states, D.C., U.S. territories, and other jurisdictions.
  • National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS), an annual survey of facilities providing substance abuse treatment.
  • National Mental Health Services Survey (N-MHSS), an annual survey of facilities providing mental health treatment.

According to data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, relapse rates for substance abuse are between 40 and 60%. However alarming this may seem, it’s a huge progress in comparison to decades ago when individuals addicted to drugs or alcohol faced discrimination and had limited access to information, let alone treatment.3

Compiling and analyzing the data helps prevention and treatment efforts. It also helps raise awareness of the importance of early intervention, timely treatment entry, and treatment retention.2

What Services Does SAMHSA Provide?

SAMHSA provides a variety of services, with the main focus on substance abuse prevention, substance abuse treatment, as well as improved access to mental health treatment and care. Tis done all in the effort to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness nationwide.1

SAMHSA also offers training for practitioners in the fields of mental health and substance use disorders.4

SAMHSA Tools & Programs

Different tools and programs offered by SAMHSA serve different purposes. These include but are not limited to:5

  • Early Serious Mental Illness Treatment Locator.
  • Behavioral Health Equity.
  • Criminal and Juvenile Justice.
  • Drug-Free Workplace Programs.
  • Evidence-Based Practices Resource Center.
  • Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT).
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT).
  • Nationwide National Helpline.
  • Substance Use Treatment Locator.
  • Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (FBCI).
  • Homelessness Programs and Resources.

Different Ways Samhsa Can Help

SAMHSA helps improve the quality, access, communication, and education related to substance abuse and mental health in different ways.6 Some of the key ways the agency offers direct assistance include:7

  • SAMHSA National Helpline
  • SAMHSA Treatment Finder
  • SAMHSA Educational Resources
  • SAMHSA Suicide Prevention Lifeline/Behavioral Health

How Does the SAMHSA Treatment Locator Work?

SAMHSA offers a comprehensive catalog of treatment facilities nationwide. The Treatment Locator is easy to use and it enables website visitors to find government-funded rehab centers located in their area, as well as private and state-funded and other publicly financed rehab centers.8

Many individuals have limited financial resources so paying for treatment can be a challenge. But private treatment centers often offer flexible payment options and have sliding scale fees. They also accept private pay as well as insurance which can be verified by contacting the center directly.9

What Kind of Alcohol and Drug Rehab Services Does SAMHSA Certify?

SAMHSA-certified alcohol and drug rehab centers are rehabilitation facilities that meet the agency’s standards and criteria for quality and performance. SAMHSA-certified rehab centers can be found nationwide. However, the certification is reserved for state-run addiction treatment facilities which rely on federal funding.10

Before becoming SAMHSA-certified, Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs) must meet certain requirements and complete the accreditation process.11

Many of these centers only offer outpatient services, although the offering may depend on the state where the center is located. Some states provide funding to inpatient rehab programs, residential rehabilitation centers, sober housing facilities, and other services which help promote, facilitate and sustain recovery.12

SAMHSA certification process of alcohol and drug rehab related services includes an assessment of whether a facility or program meets certain standards and criteria pertaining to the quality, organization, coordination, accessibility and availability of care.10

What Are the Standards for SAMHSA Certification?

Whether it is an outpatient rehabilitation program, inpatient rehab facility or a residential rehabilitation center, there are multiple criteria for certification of a rehab center:10 

  • Quality and other types of reporting 
  • Staffing requirements
  • Availability and accessibility of services
  • Care coordination
  • Organizational authority

Finding a SAMHSA-Certified Alcohol and Drug Rehab Center

Looking for the right treatment center among all the rehab facilities located nationwide can be a time-consuming process. This process can become much faster and easier with access to resources created to help treatment-seeking individuals and their families make informed decisions.13

Any form of drug or alcohol rehab normally begins with detoxification designed to ease withdrawal and render it safe, but the following steps in the process typically depend on individual circumstances and progress. The course of treatment is determined during an individual assessment performed at the beginning of treatment, so treatment is effectively tailored to address the person’s needs.12

Another possible option to facilitate your search for the right type of program is to reach out to specific providers, such as American Addiction Centers, directly. Their admission navigators are there to facilitate the admission process by responding to questions and walking callers through the admission protocol and steps of the treatment process. AAC alcohol and drug rehab facility hotlines also provide information about insurance coverage for addiction rehabilitation and other important details pertaining to payment.

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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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