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Getting into rehab without insurance takes a little work and patience, but it is possible.

With good insurance, finding a rehab is easy. However, even if you don’t have insurance and/or the money to pay up-front, you can still find rehab treatment - you’ll just have to work harder to find it and you may have to sit on a waiting list for a while before a treatment slot opens up.

Here are some ideas on how and where to find a low-cost rehab that’s billed on a sliding scale that’s related to your ability to pay, specifically:

  • Instructions on accessing SAMHSA’s database for low-cost providers and those willing to work for payment on a sliding scale related to income.
  • Instructions for accessing your state’s substance abuse services.
  • A complete state by state list of phone numbers and links to state government run treatment services agencies.
  • Other community resources, such as Christian faith-based treatment programs.


SAMHSA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, runs a database of most addiction treatment providers in America. You can search this by location to find providers who offer payment assistance or treatment on a sliding scale. Once you get a list of potential providers, it’s up to you to get on the phone and contact each in person, to find out about availability and fit.1

To use the SAMHSA searchable database:

  1. Visit the SAMHSA treatment locator 
  2. Click on your state and then enter your ZIP code to search for providers within a radius around your home.
  3. Find and click on the ‘select services’ button and then narrow down your search by searching for providers offering ‘a sliding fee scale’ or ‘payment assistance’.
  4. Contact each provider by phone to inquire about services.

TIP  – When talking to addiction service providers, ask each if they can help you access any state, county or city assistance programs that can help pay for your treatment.

Alternatively, you can also access the SAMHSA database through their free 1 800 number at 1800 62 HELP, or for the hearing impaired, at 1 800 487 4889null1 800 487 4889.

  • Though finding free or low cost treatment can seem like an impossible task, actually, a significant majority of treatment providers, 76%, offer either payment assistance or sliding scale treatment for eligible patients.2  

Services for Veterans

Veterans can also look for treatment though Veterans Affairs

2. Visit Your State's Website

You should also visit your state’s website to access state-run behavioral health or addiction treatment programs.

To do this:

  • Search online by entering your state’s name and .gov in your search engine, for example ‘Maine .gov’. You should find your state’s website at the top of the list of search results.
  • Once on your state’s website, search for addiction services. States use different terms for this, so try searching for ‘behavioral health’, ‘mental health’ or ‘addiction services’.


  • Click on State Substance Abuse Agencies and then choose your state in the drop–down menu that pops up.
  • This will provide you with a 1 800 number for treatment services in your state, and in most cases, a link to your state’s substance abuse services website.

You can also scroll to the end of this article where you will find a complete listing of 1 800 numbers and links to all state addiction treatment service agencies.

3. Ask around at AA or NA Meetings

If you don’t find treatment through SAMHSA or your state, or if waiting lists are unacceptably long, you can also try attending a few different AA, NA, SMART Recovery or other community meetings, so you can ask about local services.

  • Since many people attending these meetings will be familiar with local treatment, you may learn about treatment options that you didn’t find through SAMHSA.
  • You may also get the inside scoop on the best service providers – and those to avoid.

People at self-help group meetings are generally very welcoming, but if you haven't been before, you may feel more comfortable by preparing in advance and learning more about what happens at AA and NA meetings.

4. Consider Free Faith-Based Treatment

If you are comfortable with faith-based care, and/or if professional treatment is not available to you, you may have local treatment options through Christian organizations like the Salvation Army and others.

State by State Treatment Help-Lines

Phone numbers and links to state government addiction treatment services.

Since websites and phone numbers will change over time, please leave a comment below if you find a broken link or an incorrect phone number. This will help us keep this info correct and up to date.

As of July 20th, 2014:

You can find low-cost addiction treatment, but you’ll likely have to do some leg-work to arrange it and you may need to wait for a treatment slot.

  • Because finding low cost treatment can be a frustrating experience, and because it’s easy to lose motivation over time, enlist a supportive loved one to help you arrange treatment and to keep you motivated to move forward with the process.
  • While waiting for treatment, you can get a head-start on recovery by attending community self help meetings, like AA, NA or SMART and by working to control your intake, as much as you can.

Do you need residential addiction treatment or would outpatient treatment work just as well? To find out, read do you need to go to rehab?

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Page last updated Sep 28, 2015

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