How to Find Free Drug and Alcohol Rehab

Free rehab can be an option for you if finances or perceived costs are a barrier to entering treatment. There are several options for free rehab because of various funding sources, such as rehab scholarships, either through an organization or an individual treatment center. You can apply, and if you qualify, you can receive free drug rehab.1 Other drug and alcohol rehabs are funded by the state and are able to offer free rehab to those who can’t otherwise pay for addiction treatment.

What Free Rehab Looks Like

Free rehab includes criteria for hiring professional staff and providing services to you there. Some policies and procedures need to be followed to apply and qualify, along with expectations for you to engage in treatment. Free drug rehab tends to be provided in settings that are government-funded.

What Are Free Rehab Requirements for Professional Staff?

The professional staff employed at free rehab clinics needs to be properly credentialed to treat the misuse/overuse of alcohol and/or drugs. In some cases, free drug rehabs may employ staff who provide mental health services in case you also have a co-occurring condition.1,2,3

Depending on the services provided at the facility, the staff would need proper credentials in those treatment modalities.3

Some free drug rehabs employ medical personnel to participate in the medication portion of the treatment.

These could be:3

  • Nurses
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Physician assistants
  • Physicians
  • Psychiatrists
  • Psychiatric nurse practitioners

Free rehab will employ counselors and behavioral health professionals so that you may receive treatment such as group therapy, one-on-one counseling, psychoeducation and didactic information on addiction and mental health, and other supportive treatment.3

Free rehabs may not have the amenities or adjunctive modalities that private ones have, such as massage, yoga, acupuncture, music, and play therapy.1,2,3

Yet research shows that the treatment provided at these facilities is effective.3

How is Free Rehab Accredited?

The free rehab will be accredited by either Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) or The Joint Commission (formally JCAHO, or the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations).4

SAMSHA will also be involved in the certification process since free rehab tends to be funded through SAMSHA block grants.4

Sometimes the state in which the free rehab is operating will have its own separate accreditation process. If this is the case, the free rehab will be credentialed by the state-specific organization.4

Regardless of who credentials the facility, the process for the free rehab to receive proper credentials is stringent. It ensures that the free rehab and its staff are providing the services they state they offer and are providing appropriate treatment and care, placing your recovery as a top priority.4

What Are Free Rehab Policies and Procedures?

State-funded and other free rehabs can have specific requirements for you to be accepted into the program.

These include:1,2

  • Information about the degree or level of addiction and history/necessity for treatment
  • Proof of residence in the state that has been funded
  • Demonstrated inability to afford other treatment (based on lack of insurance, low or no income, etc.)
  • Proof of citizenship or legal residence in the U.S.

Once accepted and starting free rehab, it is important to follow any abstinence guidelines and policies and procedures set forth by the free rehab program. You have a chance to receive treatment free of cost and to start a new way of life. This is quite the opportunity, and by following the guidelines of the free rehab, you are taking steps forward to enjoying a healthy recovery.3

What Settings Are Free Rehabs in?

Free drug rehabs are primarily funded through government programs, grants, and subsidies. As such, they would mainly be facilities that are state-run or federally managed. It would be a rare occurrence to attend a private free rehab.1,2

However, some private free rehabs will have scholarship programs. If this is the case, you could apply. If you receive a scholarship from a private treatment center, you will receive free rehab from that center.1,2

Free Drug Rehab Treatment Programs

Some free drug rehab treatment programs will serve as detoxification centers only. If this is the case, you would be admitted into a medically monitored detox at a free rehab. Once you have successfully detoxed, you would be referred to the next level of care.3

This could be inpatient, residential, or intensive outpatient treatment (IOP). The referral would depend on your medical need, housing situation, and financial needs.3

A free rehab that offers either residential or inpatient treatment would include group sessions for you to process and discuss underlying reasons for your use/misuse of alcohol and/or illicit substances.3

The groups would also help you connect to others in your situation and assist with any feelings of loneliness, enhancing a sense of camaraderie.3

You would be provided a case manager or a point of contact who would meet with you to create a treatment plan. The creation of a treatment plan is a dynamic process and includes your treatment goals.3

Treatment goals can be very straightforward, such as maintaining long-term abstinence and life goals such as returning to school, completing a program of study, entering vocational training, returning to work, or finding stable housing.3

If you are on medically assisted treatment (MAT) or need medications for other conditions, the inpatient programs will often staff a physician or medical provider who can manage the medications.3

IOP would offer similar services, except you would not be residing at the facility. You would travel to the facility and receive treatment for part of the day. Standard IOP treatments are three days per week, for 3 hours. Most IOPs do not have medical staff to manage medications, though, so you may be referred to a community-based medical provider’s facility in addition to IOP.3

Regardless of whether you are receiving free rehab in an inpatient or outpatient setting, family and friends are encouraged to join in family and support sessions. If you are in a closed or locked inpatient facility, for safety reasons (especially early on in treatment and need medical therapies), there can be a scheduled time for ‘family day’ or ‘family hour’ whereby family and friends can go through a badging process to come to visit you and participate in your treatment, with your permission.3

Why You Should Seek Free Drug Rehab

The cost of treatment may be discouraging if you struggle with the misuse or overuse of drugs or alcohol. Many treatment programs can seem to be cost-prohibitive for you, especially a medically managed detoxification or an inpatient program.

If this is the case, there might be options for you to qualify for free rehab. There are public assistance options that provide financial support so that you can start your recovery process.1,2

These options include:

  • Medicare and Medicaid: If you receive services from a Medicare-approved facility or provider, your provider states that the services are medically necessary, and your provider sets up your plan of care, you could receive treatment from a free Medicare-funded rehab.5
  • The Affordable Care Act (ACA): Has provisions for sliding scale pricing and subsidies for insurance through the marketplace. The ACA also provides greater access to free rehab treatment if you qualify for it under your specific insurance plan. To find out, you can contact your insurance provider.6
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA): If you are a veteran and receive benefits through the VA, you could qualify for free rehab. Contact your local VA office or your VA provider for more details.7
  • Scholarships: Some private treatment centers offer scholarships. You may ask them and apply. You may also ask family, friends, and loved ones for private scholarships. You can negotiate the terms with them.1
  • State-funded detoxification and substance use programs: These programs are funded through taxpayer dollars or other state funding sources. Some states have set aside budgets for this. You can contact your state’s Department of Health and Human Services to ask about the qualifications and application process for these.4

Where is Free Rehab Available?

If you need free drug rehab and have little or no financial means or resources for it, state-funded free rehab can be an option for you to pursue. Local and state-funded rehab centers are tax dollar-funded, and the programs accept money from the government to provide free rehab to you.1,2

As such, you would find free rehab in the state where you reside or, in some cases, the locale where you reside.1,2

One such block grant is the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant (MHBG).
It is funded by SAMSHA and provides funds and technical assistance to all 50 states, including the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the 6 Pacific Jurisdictions.1,2

How to Find Free Rehab Near Me

To find a free rehab near to your location, you can utilize treatment services locators such as at You can look up “free rehab near me.”

If you or a loved one are struggling with substance misuse or taking Ambien with alcohol, please call your treatment provider and seek help.


  1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2022, April 12). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Block Grants.
  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2022, April 14). Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant.
  3. Pew Charitable Trusts. (2015). Substance Use Disorders and the Role of the States.
  4. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2022, March 30). Approved Accreditation Bodies.
  5. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (2014). Medicare Coverage of Substance Abuse Services.
  6. Abraham, A.J., Andres, C.M., Grogan, C.M., D’Aunno, T., Humphreys, K.N. Pollack, H.A., F.P.D. (2017). The Affordable Care Act Transformation of Substance Use Disorder Treatment. American Journal of Public Health, 107(1), 31–32.
  7. U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. (n.d.) Substance Use Treatment.
  8. New York City Health. (2022). Prevent Overdose.
  9. (n.d.).
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