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One of the major blocks that many alcoholics and addicts have to getting proper treatment is a lack of resources. When you drink or drug to the point of hitting rock bottom, you often don’t have access to money, insurance, internet and sometimes even a phone. Family and friends get tired of bailing you out and refuse to help. Where do you turn for treatment when you have run out of options?

When you find yourself without even the basic necessities of life and are addicted to a substance, there are still county, state and federal government resources that can help you get into treatment and back on your feet.

In addition, there are many non-profit groups that are willing to help an addicted person get their life back on track.

Getting Medical Assistance

The first step is getting into a treatment program.  Having insurance will help you get into a treatment program. Here's how to get it:

  • Do an internet search for your state’s website.
  • Look for a section on social services.
  • Under social services, find information about medical assistance.
  • Apply for medical assistance online or get a contact number for your local office.


  • Find the government section of a phone book (usually the blue pages).
  • Find a number for your local Department of Public Assistance.
  • Contact Public Assistance about medical assistance benefits. You can also apply for cash assistance and food stamps.

Even if you don't qualify for medical assistance, you still have options. Read on to find out more about getting medical care without insurance.

Tips on Getting Medical Care without Insurance

  • The Health Resources and Services Administration website will direct you to health centers in your area that see patients without insurance.
  • Hospitals cannot deny a person treatment for a life threatening disorder regardless of whether they can pay. You can go to your local emergency room for treatment if you are having withdrawal symptoms which are life-threatening or if you have mental health issues which put yourself or others at risk (suicidal or homicidal thoughts and feelings).

Tips on Finding a Treatment Program

Here are some options for finding a treatment program.

  • If you have insurance, call the number on the back of your insurance card and ask about alcohol and drug treatment benefits.
  • If you have insurance, you can also go to your insurance carrier’s website and do a search of treatment facilities that your insurance plan covers.
  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is a government organization that provides information and resources about addiction and mental health. SAMHSA has treatment locators for substance abuse, buprenorphine doctors, opioid treatment and mental health treatment.
  • Call this 24/7 treatment referral phone line at 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
  • Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous have meetings throughout the day and evening in most areas. Click on the links for contact information and meeting locators.
  • Check the internet or a phone book for a website or phone number for your county’s drug and alcohol program. Many counties offer drug and alcohol treatment assistance.

Getting Back on Your Feet - More Resources

In addition to needing medical help, insurance and treatment facilities, addicted persons often need help with basic needs. Your local library often has computers and internet access that you can use to apply for help or research what help is available. The following are links for assistance with basic needs.

  • Assurance Wireless offers free cell phones with 250 free minutes and 250 free texts a month to those who qualify.
  • The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers resources to find and pay for housing as well as emergency housing.
  • Feeding America has a food bank locator.
  • Check your state or county website for information on clothing assistance. Some counties offer vouchers for clothing especially for children.
  • Check with your local Department of Public Welfare for assistance with getting a vehicle. Some counties, especially in rural areas where transportation is limited, offer an allowance for a vehicle to low income individuals and families.
  • If you are in substance abuse treatment or mental health treatment, ask your treatment program about an ICM (Intensive Case Management) worker. An ICM worker is a case management worker who is familiar with the resources in your area and can help you find assistance with clothing, food, furniture, housing, etc.
  • Contact local churches and ask what programs they have available.
  • Contact your local Salvation Army, Goodwill, and Catholic Charities and ask what programs they have available.
  • Melissa Data has a non-profit organization locator. You can enter your zip code and find the non-profit organizations in your area. With a little research, you can find charitable organizations that can help you with many different resources.

While this list isn’t comprehensive, it shows that there are a lot of resources available to people struggling with alcoholism, addiction or mental health issues. Just because you lost everything, doesn’t mean you can’t start over with the help of your community.

About the author Anna Deeds:
I am a recovering addict and a Licensed Professional Counselor. I have over 7 years clean from all substances and more than 10 years from illicit drugs. I work as an addiction counselor and have more than 5 years experience counseling addicts.
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Page last updated Mar 18, 2013

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