6 Steps to Find Addiction Treatment For Your Son or Daughter If You Don’t Have Insurance

Your entire family is thrown into a crisis when your son or daughter needs treatment for drug or alcohol addiction. And that crisis is magnified if you don’t have the money or insurance to get help.

Although it may take work and patience finding affordable treatment for your son or daughter, it is possible.  Here are six steps you can take to help you find low cost or free treatment options.

 1. Research Your Options

Learn about the treatment options available. Does your child need inpatient or outpatient services? (Inpatient programs are those where you’re required to live at the treatment facility for the duration of the program, while outpatient treatment allows you to receive treatment during the day and go home at night.) Determining which treatment option is the best fit for your son or daughter will help you narrow down your search.

Use the National Database 
One way to find treatment programs is through Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) national treatment locator, which provides referrals for local treatment facilities, support groups and community-based organizations. You can find providers who offer payment assistance or treatment on a sliding scale. Click on your state and enter your zip code to find providers near your area. Find and click on the select servicesbutton and then narrow down your search by looking for providers offering a sliding fee scale or payment assistance. You’ll need to contact each provider by phone to inquire about services (more about this in step 2).

Research State Programs
Most states, cities and even counties offer inpatient and outpatient alcohol and drug treatment centers that are tax-supported and free of charge. These programs range from short-term detox centers to long-term inpatient treatment centers to individual outpatient counseling. SAMHSA also maintains a Directory of Single State Agencies (PDF) for substance abuse services that makes it easier for you to determine who to contact.

Look into Programs offered by Religious Groups
Faith-based drug and alcohol treatment has been around longer than any professional treatment centers or 12 step programs. Examples of drug addiction treatment centers offered by religious organizations include The Salvation ArmyGoodwillYMCA, and dozens of Christian recovery programs like Catholic Charities. Nearly every community offers a faith-based drug addiction treatment center and these programs are almost always free.

Look into Rehab Scholarships
Rehab scholarships are very similar to an educational scholarship, in that they are third-party programs that provide funding for individuals seeking help from free residential centers. Scholarship organizations primarily focus on helping three types of people: Individuals without medical insurance, those who are not able to pay for rehab out of pocket and people who are unable to qualify for a loan because of bad credit. There are many organizations in the U.S. offering rehab scholarships right now, from Second Chance to SAMHSA.

Beware of Predatory Practices & Unethical Organizations
Unfortunately, many treatment centers put profit before patient care. Be careful when using a search engine to find treatment, especially using keywords like “free,” as there are several unethical organizations out there who will promise you nearly anything to make money off of you and your child. Read up on advice given to parents about how to steer clear of these predatory practices.

2. Call, Call. Call.

Carve out time each day to start making phone calls to the treatment centers you have identified on your list. Review Questions to Ask Treatment Programs to be prepared for what to say when you get in touch. When you call, ask right away whether scholarships exist to help cover treatment expenses for the under-insured or those with no insurance. Even if you have insurance that only covers detox or a percentage of treatment, let the facility know, as they may agree to cover the remaining balance. Remember that through the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, insurance companies are required to treat your child’s mental health and substance use treatment the same as all other medical/surgical benefits.

When talking with the treatment program, ask if they can help you access any state, county or city assistance programs to help pay for your treatment there – they might have connections.

3. Seek Help from a Counselor

If you are having difficulty finding treatment through SAMHSA or your state, or if waiting lists are unacceptably long, you can seek out recommendations from local drug and alcohol or addiction counselors. Psychology Today maintains a listing of licensed counselors in your area — simply enter your zip code and choose from those specializing in substance misuse on the left side of the screen to narrow down the selection.

4. Seek Help from Others

You can encourage your son or daughter to attend a few different meetings for people in recovery. Examples of these types of groups include AANASMART Recovery or other community meetings. There are many different of meetings so help your child find one that’s a good fit. These meetings do not require payment for participation and have shown long-term success rivaling other therapies.

Since many people attending these meetings will be familiar with local treatment facilities, your child may learn about treatment options that you didn’t find through SAMHSA. However, as mentioned in step 2, with any treatment option it’s important to call and ask the right questions determine if it meets your family’s needs.

If you’d like to go to a meeting yourself or along with your son or daughter, you are welcome to attend open meetings, which are identified on the websites of these groups. You can also consider attending local Al-AnonNar-Anon and Families Anonymous meetings for help locating treatment options and to help yourself obtain support during this trying time.

5. Get Creative with Funding

Though there’s still a lot of stigma in our society, addiction touches nearly everyone. Try opening up to your community of family and friends and ask for help, both emotionally and financially. You never know who might be willing to support you and your child. Websites such as GoFundMe, IndieGoGo and Crowdrise allow you to create a crowdfunding platform to raise the money you need to receive treatment services.

Many financial institutions, such as Prosper Healthcare Lending and My Treatment Lender, also cater to those seeking drug rehab financing. These loan companies typically offer special loan packages that are affordable and tailored to the costs of treatment.

6. Get Support for Yourself

To best help your child, your own self-care is vital during this difficult time. Don’t neglect your own needs or your own social circle. Reach out and make connections with others in order to get help.

Seek out support groups in your area through The Support Group Project or SAMSHA. In addition to in-person meetings, there are also many free online recovery resources, such as AA internet meetings,  the Substance Abuse Forum and In The Rooms.

Partnership for Drug-Free Kids also offers free peer-to-peer Parent Coaching for parents of children affected by substance abuse. Parent Coaches are all volunteers who have been personally affected by a family member’s substance abuse, and have received specialized training to help other families. They’re fellow parents who have “been there” and want to make others’ lives a little easier. You can ask about signing up for Parent Coaching by contacting our Helpline.

This is an incredibly challenging time for you, your child and your family. Navigating through the confusing and convoluted treatment system, it is understandable if you sometimes feel fearful and angry and like you’re losing hope. But it is possible to get your son or daughter the help he or she needs.