Free Detox Centers

Published: 02/9/2022 | Author:

Free detox centers are different in some ways from those that cost money. However, all detox centers offer help in recovering from addiction and getting through withdrawal in the process.

What Is the Difference Between Free and Paid Detox Centers?

Most rehabilitation programs start with a process called detoxification, which is often considered the first stage of treatment.

Detoxification is the process by which the body clears itself of drugs, and detox centers are designed to manage the acute and potentially dangerous physiological effects of stopping drug use.1

Free detox centers offer their services at no cost to the patient, while paid detox centers have a cost associated with the treatment program. Free centers receive their funding through various sources, including private endowments, government funds, and charitable donations.

Free Detox Center

You can expect quality treatment at a free detox center. Free detox centers have medical and mental health professionals on staff to guide individuals through their recovery process, just like paid detox centers.

However, because the funds used to run these centers are contingent on many factors outside of the center’s control, treatment options may not be as varied as in paid treatment facilities.

Free clinics may be slower to offer new, more experimental or expensive treatments even if they appear to provide promising results. Until these treatments become mainstream, free centers may not have the funding to train their staff in the techniques, get the equipment, or receive approval from their funding sources.

At free detox centers, patients usually share rooms with other patients to reduce costs and minimize wait time. However, free centers can have long waitlists. For this reason, some centers have limits on the amount of time they will keep someone in a recovery program to make space for a new patient.

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Paid Detox Center

Paid, private, and luxury detox centers offer some amenities that the free centers do not, but it does come at a cost. Prices vary based on many different factors, but some estimates of how much you will pay for different detox services are:2

  • $250-$800 per day for 30-day drug detox
  • $1,400-$10,000 for 3 months of outpatient care
  • $3,000-$10,000 for a 30-day intensive outpatient program
  • $5,000-$80,000 for residential treatment that includes detox services, depending on the length of stay

Paid centers may have a lower staff to patient ratio, providing patients with more individualized attention. They may also allow patients to stay in treatment longer and offer supplementary treatments.

How Do I Find Free Detox Centers?

If you are worried about the potential costs of treatment, you are not alone. In 2018, a study found that 1 in 3 people who needed detox treatment did not receive it because of the lack of funds or health insurance to pay for the cost of treatment.1

Research also shows that those without health insurance have higher rates of substance use disorders than individuals who have health insurance. The 2015 Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health reported that about 12% of respondents without health insurance met the criteria for a substance use disorder.3

Referral

Many individuals enter detox treatment after being seen by their doctor or in another medical setting like an emergency room. A medical professional can provide you with a referral to a detox center in your area.

If you feel concerned about the cost of services, be clear with your provider about your insurance and income situation.

Online

You can find free detox centers online.

The government entity, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), has a directory of each state’s free agency that provides substance misuse services.4 Most state-run programs will ask you to prove that you live in the state to access services. If you find there is a long waiting list for your state’s agency, there are other options for you as well.

You can also search our online detox center directory to find facilities in your state.

How Can I Get Coverage for Detox Services?

If you cannot find easy access to a free center, you will find that many types of insurance cover the cost of addiction treatment and rehab.

Insurance

The Affordable Care Act made it mandatory that insurance policies issued under the state health exchanges and through Medicaid programs under the ACA expansion provide coverage for addiction treatment.5

You can use Healthcare.gov to find insurance plans that fit in your financial budget and qualify for subsidies to lower your monthly premium costs.

Medicaid

Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that provides health coverage to over 72.5 million Americans and is the single largest source of health coverage in the United States.6

You have to meet qualifications to be eligible for Medicaid coverage. Some examples of eligible groups are: 6

  • Low-income families
  • Qualified pregnant women and children
  • Individuals receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

All state Medicaid programs provide some mental health services, and some offer substance use disorder services that include counseling, therapy, medication management, social work services, peer supports, and substance use disorder treatment.7

Medicare

Medicare offers healthcare to Americans who are 65 or older and to young people with disabilities. Medicare covers a wide range of mental health services including inpatient hospital care, visits with a psychiatrist or counselor, and prescription drugs that may be used to help you detox.7

Grants

If you do not have insurance or find that you can’t afford your insurance co-pays and deductibles, you have another option to apply for grants through SAMHSA’s website.8

You will have to fill out applications providing information to see if you qualify for government assistance in paying for your treatment.

Payment Plans and Discounts

Many treatment centers offer discounted services to patients who cannot afford the full cost of treatment or who do not have insurance. You can also ask your local detox centers if they offer payment plans that allow you to pay a monthly fee that you can afford towards your treatment.

Are Free Detox Centers Effective?

Studies indicate that any type or level of treatment increases positive recovery outcomes compared to no treatment.9

While individual outcomes depend on many factors, research that tracks treatment over long periods of time indicate that treatment entry and completion have a dramatic effect on substance use and associated symptoms.1

It is challenging to accurately measure the effectiveness of free detox centers specifically because substance use disorder treatment is currently not well integrated and multiple systems often provide services.3

Some research points to a few factors related to effective treatment in substance misuse:3, 10

  • Seeing your primary care physician annually after substance use disorder treatment has shown to produce better outcomes and reduced healthcare costs. This is partly because substance misuse is often a chronic issue that can reoccur after initial treatment.
  • Detoxification alone does not address the psychological, social, and behavioral problems associated with addiction and, therefore, more positive outcomes occur when detox is followed by a formal assessment and referral to drug addiction treatment.
  • Completing an inpatient stay at a treatment center is related to a reduced risk of relapse.

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Which Treatment Option Is Best?

Free centers do often have long waiting lists. Research shows that 25-50% of persons on waiting lists are never admitted to treatment.11 The reasons for this are varied, but often if you have a substance use disorder, you have better outcomes when treatment is offered at the moment you seek it. For this reason, finding a center that can offer treatment immediately may be best, especially if you find yourself in a time of health or personal crisis.

Another study suggests that patients who received treatment at a short-term clinic (i.e., 2-4 months) were at an increased risk of relapse than those who received treatment at a long-term clinic (i.e., over 6 months).10 This was true regardless of the exact length of stay. This suggests it wasn’t the length of stay that increased or decreased the risk of relapse, but something else about these types of treatment centers. However, the study did not draw conclusions about what that may be.

All forms of treatment are associated with more positive recovery outcomes than no treatment. If you are concerned about your substance use or an addiction, please call 800-483-2193(Who Answers?) to speak to a specialist about treatment options.

Resources

  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition).
  2. Giorgi, A. (2021). How Much Does Alcohol Rehab Usually Cost?
  3. National Center for Biotechnology Information. (2016). Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health.
  4. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Directory of Single State Agencies (SSA) for Substance Abuse Services.
  5. Healthcare.gov. Mental health and substance abuse health coverage options.
  6. Medicaid.gov. Eligibility Medicaid.
  7. Mentalhealth.gov. (2020, March 18). Health Insurance and Mental Health Services.
  8. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2021, October 31). Grants.
  9. McLellan, A.T., Woody, G.E., & Metzger, D. (1996). Evaluating the effectiveness of addiction treatments: Reasonable expectations, appropriate comparisons. Milbank Quarterly, 74(1), 51-85.
  10. Andersson, H.W., Wenaas, M., & Nordjfaern, T. (2019). Relapse after inpatient substance use treatment: A prospective cohort study among users of illicit substances. Addictive Behaviors, (90) 222-228.
  11. Chun, JS., Gleghorn, A., Guydish, J.R., & Silber, E. (2009). Drug Treatment Outcomes for Persons on Waiting Lists. American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 34(5), 526-533.
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