The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that close to 165 million Americans age 12 and older are past-month substance users, including an estimated 140 million alcohol drinkers and 32 million illicit drug users. Approximately 20 million people in the United States meet the criteria for a diagnosis of substance use disorder and therefore could benefit from addiction treatment (2018 figures). Also, 48 million adults over the age of 18 in the US have a mental illness.[1] Substance use and mental health disorders often go hand in hand, and their simultaneous treatment is necessary for sustained recovery.

What’s even more worrying is that only about 11% of people who need substance-use treatment at a specialty facility receive the help they require.[2] These startling numbers highlight the need for greater access to addiction treatment in the United States. Calling an addiction hotline is an important first step in providing people who are battling substance use disorders with the guidance and support they need to overcome their addiction.

What is a drug and alcohol addiction hotline?

A drug and alcohol hotline is a telephone number that you call to get free information about substance use or misuse. In the case of Drug Helpline, this is a toll-free number available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. You can call the drug hotline at your convenience, any time of the day or night, including holidays and weekends. All calls are completely confidential and private, and can be made without fear of getting into trouble with the law.

The helpful and friendly operators can give you lots of valuable information about substance use, including how to recognize drug use in a loved one, the different types of addiction treatments available, and the cost of drug and alcohol rehab. Hotline operators can also help identify addiction treatment programs in your area. If you are unsure whether your insurance will cover outpatient and inpatient drug and alcohol rehab, the operators can help you understand your health insurance coverage.

Drug Helpline at (844) 289-0879 is a free, confidential, 24/7 drug and alcohol hotline that can help you start your journey towards a better future.

Can I call the hotline on behalf of a friend or family member?

Yes. Drug and alcohol helplines such as the National Drug Helpline at (844) 289-0879 are open to everyone. You can call the hotline to get information for yourself or a friend or family member.

If you are worried that a loved one may be using drugs or drinking excessively, but you’re not sure, an alcohol and drug hotline can help you learn about the common signs and symptoms of drug and alcohol misuse. This will help you figure out if treatment is necessary.

If you know that a family member or friend is using harmful substances, the hotline can help you figure out the next step in getting them the help they need. If the person is ready to start treatment, you can find out about rehab programs in your community.

Although there is greater acceptance now than before, there continues to be a considerable stigma attached to substance use in modern society. Many people are hesitant to speak to members of their community about addiction in a loved one. A drug and alcohol hotline provides you with confidential support and guidance without judgment or reprimand. You can get answers to all your questions from trusted advisors and help a loved one take the first step towards recovery.

What kind of addiction treatments are available?

Alcohol and drug addiction is a complex and long-lasting medical condition characterized by compulsive behaviors despite negative consequences. Addiction is also a relapsing disease, meaning a person can return to drug or alcohol use during an attempt to quit or even many years after quitting. The good news is that addiction is treatable and there are many effective options available to help people struggling with substance misuse. Treatments can help people stop using drugs or alcohol, stay drug-free, and lead a productive, healthy, happy life.

It is worth noting that no single addiction treatment is right for everyone and the treatment plan needs to be individualized to address the needs of each person. A drug and alcohol hotline can help you identify the level of care that you or your loved one needs and the programs nearby that offer those types of addiction treatments.

The main types of addiction treatments that are used in treating drug and alcohol misuse include:[3]

Medical detox: This is the phase of addiction treatment during which the body is allowed to rid itself of harmful substances under medical supervision. For some substances, detox can be dangerous if not conducted under such supervision. Medical supervision ensures that any health complications that arise as well as withdrawal symptoms and cravings can be managed by the healthcare team to ensure safe and comfortable detoxification.

Behavioral counseling: A range of therapies, such as CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy), DBT (dialectical-behavioral therapy), and contingency management have proven effective in treating substance use disorders. These therapy modalities are used in both individual and group counseling settings, and during both outpatient and inpatient drug and alcohol rehab. They help people recovering from substance use disorders to develop skills and learn strategies to avoid triggers and prevent relapse to substance use.

Medication management: Several FDA-approved medications can help people in recovery stay clean by reducing drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms. These medications can be prescribed by healthcare providers to assist in continuing sobriety.

Mental health disorders: Addiction and mental illness (e.g., depression, anxiety disorders) often occur together, which is why many drug rehab centers offer dual diagnosis treatment for both conditions concurrently. This gives the best chance of sustained recovery.

Aftercare and long-term follow-up: As noted, addiction is a relapsing disease and people can return to drug and alcohol use after many years of sobriety. Long-term follow-up and aftercare programs consist of support groups, ongoing education, and mentorship to prevent relapse.

What are the costs of alcohol and drug addiction treatment?

A major reason why people are hesitant to seek addiction treatment is the expenses associated with drug and alcohol rehab. If you would like to find out more about the cost of addiction treatment, you can call the National Drug Helpline at (844) 289-0879. Here is a rough estimate of what the different types of substance-use recovery programs cost:

  • Medical detox costs from $250 to $800 per day
  • Intensive outpatient treatment can be anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000
  • Outpatient rehab typically ranges between $1,400 and $10,000
  • Residential addiction treatment is the most expensive, from $5,000 to $80,000 or more

If you’re worried about not being able to afford substance use treatment, call the National Drug Helpline at (844) 289-0879 to find out more about your options. In the United States, addiction treatment is usually at least partially covered by your insurance. If you have a health insurance policy, call the helpline to understand what is and isn’t covered.

You may also be eligible for various financial assistance opportunities, such as scholarships, grants, sliding scale payments, deferred payments, and third-party loans.

Is it free to call a drug and alcohol addiction hotline?

Yes, calls to the drug hotline are free. If it is a toll-free number, you will not incur any charges for the call. The information will also be provided completely free of cost. You do not need to have health insurance to call a drug and alcohol hotline. However, should you decide to start addiction treatment, you will need to pay for the treatment through your health insurance policy or out of pocket.

What questions can I ask the hotline operator?

You can ask the drug and alcohol hotline operator any question that’s on your mind. Even if you don’t have specific questions in mind, speaking to a friendly advisor can help you collect your thoughts and give you clarity of mind. Nonetheless, it is useful to be prepared with some questions before you call the hotline. Here are some of the most common questions people ask when they call a drug and alcohol helpline.

substance abuse hotline

  • How do I know if my friend or family member needs addiction treatment?
  • What steps can I take to prevent my teenager from drinking or doing drugs?
  • What are the health effects of drug and alcohol use?
  • What precautions should I take to prevent a drug overdose?
  • Are there any affordable addiction treatment programs near me?
  • Will my health insurance cover substance use treatment?
  • Are there any state-funded addiction treatment resources in my community?
  • Is addiction treatment effective? What are the success rates?

When you call the National Drug Helpline at (844) 289-0879, you are taking the first step on the path to recovery. Compassionate and helpful advisors are on hand 24/7 to give you the information and guidance you need in complete confidentiality and to help you move towards a better future.

Drug hotlines

In addition to calling Drug Helpline on (844) 289-0879, you can also try some of the following substance use, drug use and addiction hotline numbers:

Last updated: March 8, 2023

Dr. Jennifer Merrill

Dr. Jennifer Merrill is an Associate Professor in the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Brown University. She received her PhD in 2012 from the University at Buffalo, and is a licensed clinical psychologist in Rhode Island (Credential ID: PS01479).

Dr. Merrill has published over 70 peer-reviewed articles in journals such as Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, Addictive Behaviors and Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. Her published work includes 'Drinking over the lifespan: Focus on college ages' and 'Event-level correlates of drinking events characterized by alcohol-induced blackouts'.


1 Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States. Results from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Available online. Accessed on October 13, 2020.
2 Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States. Results from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Available online. Accessed on October 13, 2020.
3 2019, January 17. Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction DrugFacts. Retrieved from on 2020, October 13