Key takeaways:

  • State-funded rehabs are often an ideal option for those looking to get help with a substance abuse problem but do not have the required income or access to suitable insurance to cover private rehab treatment
  • How to qualify for state-funded rehab depends on the state you are in, the program you want to enter, and specific eligibility requirements, as each state will have its own requirements and offerings
  • Due to the limited resources available to state-funded treatment centers and the high number of applicants, there may be a waiting list to enter into a rehab program. You can inquire about specific waitlists by contacting state-funded rehab centers directly

There are currently over 23 million people in the United States suffering from addiction. Of these, only 10% receive treatment. Denial, fear, and stigma are major barriers to seeking treatment, but the cost and limited access to addiction treatment is also a major barrier. While it is true that there is a cost involved for addiction treatment, especially those that offer private or luxury residential rehab programs, state-funded drug and alcohol treatment facilities offer a great alternative for those who are uninsured, have a lower income, or can’t afford to pay out-of-pocket for addiction treatment.

What are government-funded rehab programs?

State-funded rehab facilities use money provided by the government and distributed by the state to provide addiction treatment services such as medication-assisted detox, residential rehab, outpatient treatment programs, and other facilities to those suffering from drug and alcohol addictions. Some of these programs use state funds from Medicaid or Medicare to offer free or reduced treatment to those with these insurances, while others have separate funds for people who are uninsured, uninsured, and have a lower income.

State-funded rehabs are often an ideal option for those looking to get help with a substance abuse problem but do not have the required income or access to suitable insurance to cover private rehab treatment. These treatment programs come in many forms all over the country and can include inpatient treatment programs, outpatient programs, and follow-up support in the form of therapy and medication. 

What is offered by state-funded rehab varies from state to state, as do the qualifying requirements for those seeking treatment. This can make it difficult for those looking for help with addiction to find exactly what they need at a state-funded level. It is recommended that those looking for themselves or a loved one should do research to make sure they are getting what they need and to see what their state offers. 

Funding for these treatment centers comes from multiple sources, according to a publication [2] by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Some are supplied by SAMHSA via federal grants and in the form of reimbursement from Medicaid, some are portioned off in the state budget, and some come from affiliations with other state services such as child social services or criminal justice provisions.

Get help during covid-19

Get help during Covid-19

At Recovered, we recognize the impact COVID-19 has had and the continued challenges it poses to getting advice and treatment for substance use disorders. SAMHSA has a wealth of information and resources to assist providers, individuals, communities, and states during this difficult time and is ready to help in any way possible.

Speak to SAMSHA

How do you qualify for state-funded rehab?

How to qualify for state-funded rehab depends on the state you are in, the program you want to enter, and specific eligibility requirements, as each state will have its own requirements and offerings. It is recommended that a person seeking treatment contact the state agency that manages the programs to find out what is required to qualify. SAMHSA has provided the Directory of Single State Agencies (SSAs) that contains the contact number for each of these agencies by state. 

Another way to check your eligibility for state-funded addiction treatment is to visit your local Department of Human and Health Services, where you can often obtain information about treatment programs and financial assistance. At your local DHHS, you will be able to apply for Medicaid, as well as other forms of financial assistance, including help paying for medical, mental health, or addiction treatment. Visiting the DHHS website can also help you find out about what treatment options and financial assistance programs you may qualify for.

While the specifics of qualifying criteria may differ per state, the general information required to enroll in state-funded treatment centers is as follows:

  • Proof of residence

  • Proof of income status

  • Proof of legal residence in the US

  • Personal information on addiction history (e.g., duration, severity)

How quickly will treatment begin?

Due to the limited resources available to state-funded treatment centers and the high number of applicants, there may be a waiting list to enter into a rehab program. You can inquire about specific waitlists by contacting state-funded rehab centers directly. If you are in crisis or need urgent treatment, you can also call 911 or visit the ER at your local hospital.

Most state-funded treatment centers will also employ a priority system whereby people with greater need of treatment, such as pregnant women, will be pushed to the top of the list. This can add time to the waiting list for some, especially for those with less urgent needs. 

People often get deterred or stop pursuing state-funded rehab due to the long waiting times. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) [4] suggests that addiction treatment is often only pursued if it is readily available at the time a person decides they need help. That is why many state-funded rehab programs offer outpatient and medical maintenance for addiction treatment to aid those who are waiting for a residential or intensive addiction treatment program.

How effective is state-funded rehab?

As the amount of money available to state-funded rehab centers is often far less than that of private treatment facilities, the quality of these programs varies a lot, depending on the particular program. Doing your research and consulting with a health or mental health care professional in your community can sometimes help you locate the best options for treatment.

Still, studies have shown that any level of treatment can reduce substance abuse, help improve health, and repair relationships, meaning any treatment is often better than no treatment. [5]

Services that may not be available at state-funded rehab centers

  • Non-traditional treatment: State-funded treatment centers operate on evidence-based treatment and may not be able to offer therapeutic activities or other treatment trends.
  •  In-house counseling: Due to budget and size constraints, some facilities may only handle detox and medical supervision. In these cases, they will often outsource to counseling services and support groups for ongoing treatment. 

  • Comfort: Most state-funded facilities will not offer the high level of accommodation that can be found in private care. 

  • Amenities: State-funded programs are solely focused on the treatment of addiction and will not be able to offer relaxation therapies or other comforts such as pools and spa treatment.

  • Long-term treatment: There may be a limit on how much or how long you can stay in a state-funded treatment program

How much do state-funded rehab centers cost?

There are several factors that can affect the cost of state-funded treatment, such as:

  • How qualified an individual is for the program

  • The level of treatment required

  • State policy

  • Personal circumstances

  • Medication required

These variables can mean state-funded treatment can range from free to several thousands of dollars. Some may be fully subsidized for treatment through grants that are supported by specific treatment centers, for groups such as pregnant women, veterans, and the differently-abled. Reaching out to different rehab facilities, your local DHHS, or consulting with a health or mental health professional in your community can often help you determine your options. Most rehab centers also provide case management and admission support, with dedicated staff to help you understand the costs of treatment before you commit.