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Government and State-Funded Rehab for Alcohol

In 2019, approximately 14.1 million adults in the United States had an alcohol use disorder (AUD).1 Also sometimes called “alcohol addiction,” “alcoholism,” and “alcohol abuse,” AUD is a chronic, relapsing disease marked by not being able to control alcohol use or stop drinking despite the negative consequences to a person’s health, relationships, and overall well-being.1

Though millions of Americans struggle with alcohol use disorder, in 2019, only about 7.3% of adults who had AUD received treatment in the previous year.2 For many people, this was due to not having health insurance or being able to afford the cost of treatment.

But a lack of funds or insurance coverage doesn’t have to keep you from getting the help you need. State-funded rehab centers are one option for free or no-cost alcohol addiction treatment for people without health insurance.

What Is State-Funded Rehab?

State-funded rehab centers and state-funded treatment programs provide low or no-cost alcohol addiction treatment.  The government subsidizes these rehabs to offset the cost of addiction treatment.3 Funding sources vary from state to state, but may include a combination of federal grants, state budgets, and Medicaid reimbursements.3

State-funded addiction treatment programs offer alcohol treatment in a number of settings, including:4

Who Qualifies for State-Funded Rehab?

People who cannot afford treatment due to low income or lack of insurance coverage may be interested in seeking help from state-funded treatment programs. Still, it’s a good idea to make sure you qualify for their services before starting the process.

Each state has its own rules about who can access care at state-funded treatment programs. When you apply for free or low-cost treatment, you may be asked about:

  • Proof that you live in the state in which you are hoping to attend rehab.
  • Your income.
  • Proof that you are a legal resident of the United States.
  • Your alcohol use history.

How Soon Can I Start Treatment at State-Funded Rehab?

How soon you can begin treatment at a state-funded rehab will depend on the program you are trying to enter, and the number of spots open at rehabs near you.

Because of high demand for services, many state-funded rehab centers have waiting lists to enter treatment. Waiting periods can range anywhere from a couple of days to several months, depending on the state and current level of demand.

Waiting can deter people from getting the help they need, which can lead to negative outcomes. Research shows that 25 to 50% of people on waitlists are never admitted to treatment.5 Those who did enter treatment experienced worse addiction severity during their wait time.5

To protect against this potential harm, state-funded programs may offer outpatient treatment services, such as a day program or medical detox, to provide some level of treatment and support for those on waiting lists for more intensive treatment.

How Does State-Funded Rehab Compare to Private Rehab?

Private and state-funded rehabs both function in many of the same ways and have the same goal. Not all private or state-funded rehab centers are the same, but there are some key differences that often exist between them.

State-funded rehab centers typically focus on evidence-based treatment services, including counseling, therapy, addiction education, and detox, without the amenities. Private rehabs also use evidence-based treatments but generally offer more amenities, such as gourmet meals, massage therapy, and yoga.

Private rehab centers may also have shorter wait times for admission.

How Do the Costs of State-Funded Rehab Compare to Private Treatment Programs?

In general, state-funded rehab programs cost far less than private rehab centers. Depending on state requirements and a person’s circumstances, treatment may be free. Total cost of treatment in either a state-funded or private program will depend on location, treatment program, length and intensity of treatment, amenities, and more. In many cases, insurance covers at least part of the cost of private treatment centers.7

How Do I Find State-Funded Rehab Near Me?

Some options for finding government-funded rehab near you include:

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