In New Jersey in 2017, there were 30.8 drug-related deaths per 100,000 people.1 Of those 2,737 deaths, 1,613 were due to heroin use.1
In 2018, 89,629 New Jersey residents were admitted for substance abuse treatment.2 Of those admitted, 44% were admitted for heroin use.2
The heroin epidemic has grown in recent years due to prescription opioid abuse, with many people turning to heroin because they can no longer afford prescription painkillers.
Free Drug Rehab Options
With the threat that substance use disorders pose to the people who live in New Jersey, drug and alcohol rehab is imperative to help people start on their paths toward recovery. And while rehab is often essential to achieve sobriety, not all people can afford treatment.
While the cost of treatment can seem overwhelming, there are various ways to seek help from alcohol and drug addiction, even if you don’t have insurance. One of the ways to find government-assisted or free rehab options is to use the Substa
nce Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) treatment directory. An anonymous and confidential source on substance abuse treatment, the Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator provides info on treatment throughout the United States.
Single State Agencies (SSAs) for Substance Use Services is a directory that provides contact information for the state government agencies that manage the delivery of addiction treatment services to uninsured or low income individuals. Call your state agency to find out about any government-funded rehab centers where you may be able to obtain free or low-cost treatment.
There are a various options available to help with the cost of rehab and treatment. These include the following:
- SAMHSA grants.
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
- State and locally funded addiction treatment programs.
- The Affordable Care Act.
- Medicare and Medicaid.
For those who do not have insurance or the funds to pay for alcohol and drug rehab, there is free drug and alcohol rehab that is available.
Do Facilities Offer Free Rehab?
In order to discover how many substance abuse rehab facilities offer free services, in 2018 SAMHSA performed a national survey that received responses from 14,809 facilities across the country, with 45% reporting they provided free or minimal payment treatment for those who could not cover the cost of rehab. Of these rehabs, private, for-profit facilities provided almost ¼ of that treatment.3
In addition, 58% of facilities reported they offer other options, including a sliding fee scale, which allows patients to pay an amount based on what they can afford.3 Although not all facilities provide free treatment, there are low-cost and free options out there.
What is Included in Free Drug Rehab?
There are both advantages and disadvantages to free drug rehab, but the biggest advantage is the cost of treatment. Those who would otherwise be unable to pay for drug and alcohol rehab can receive the treatment and care that they need to work toward recovery. Free rehab facilities, like other addiction facilities, provide care in a controlled setting, allowing patients to be in a safe environment that provides them with greater opportunity for recovery.
Free programs are usually staffed by properly trained and knowledgeable professionals who can provide quality care that uses techniques and evidence-based behavioral therapies that have been proven effective.
With limited budgets and a lack of resources, some free rehab centers are unable to provide the most updated equipment or facilities as more up-to-date private facilities. In addition, there is often a high demand for treatment at these facilities, which can lead to long wait lists to gain access to treatment.
Another disadvantage of free rehab is the lack of treatment options and amenities that are available. Although the cost advantage is unmatched, these programs typically provide bare-bones treatment with only the most basic of services.
Taking in to account the provider of care and where funding is coming from, free drug rehab may include anything from intensive inpatient care to simple outpatient medical maintenance.
Despite the likelihood of having more basic or standard recovery settings, these free treatment programs can still provide effective treatment as well as valuable post-treatment support.
Who Qualifies for Free Drug Rehab?
Treatment centers that are run by nonprofit organizations will often provide payment support to those who need services. There are nonprofits that offer free treatment at their own rehab centers or through scholarships at private facilities. Many religious organizations, and there are also religious organizations that provide free faith-based substance abuse treatment as part of their community services.
Most government-funded rehab programs have strict requirements for eligibility. Proof of US citizenship, lack of insurance/adequate insurance, income, and state residency is typically required.
Only eligible veterans who receive care from the Veterans Administration can qualify for Veterans Alcohol and Drug Dependence Rehabilitation Programs.4 These addiction treatment programs are free and offer services including detox, and psychiatric care, and rehab.
Other Options for Someone Who Can’t Afford Rehab
There are alternate resources available for individuals who want to get sober but cannot afford the cost of rehab. For example, many treatment facilities will work with patients to create an individual payment plan that may include options such as payment assistance, sliding scales, or private financing.
Another option for those who cannot afford to pay for traditional treatment is online. The cost is usually lower than it would be for traditional treatment programs and can vary depending on what the program offers. Scheduling for these programs may be more convenient, and the programs typically offer services including group and individual session, tools for recovery, and support from peers. Online programs do require that, in order to find benefits, individuals be motivated and disciplined because the programs are self-administered.
Additional options for individuals to obtain treatment include the following:
- Scholarships: Individual facilities might provide scholarships that cover all or a portion of the cost of treatment. Contact a facility to inquire about whether scholarships are available.
- Insurance: This can be obtained through the Affordable Care Act, and may be more affordable because it takes income and other factors into account.
- COBRA: If you’ve lost your job, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) allows you to retain the health insurance your company provided, albeit at the full premium price. Because mental health and substance abuse treatment are considered essential benefits of health insurance, you should be able to find a facility that accepts insurance.
- Loans: While a loan must be paid back and usually involves interest, it might be worth it to look into what options are available to you so that you can reclaim your health.
- 12-Step Programs and non-religious self-help and support groups: These programs often provide support once individuals are in recovery, but there is possible assistance that might be provided.
- Friends and Family: It might be possible to borrow money from family and friends to pay for treatment.
Verify Your Benefits Today
Some people may not qualify for free rehab. If that’s the case, you can check if your health insurance will help cover some of the cost of your addiction treatment.
Free Addiction Rehab Services in NJ
- Alcoholics Anonymous (AA): Though AA isn’t an actual treatment program, it can be a valuable source of support for those in recovery. It is one of the longest-running treatment and recovery support groups in the world. This international organization offers free meetings in many locations. Use their meeting finder to focus on New Jersey meeting locations.
- Addictions Hotline of New Jersey: This is a free telephone line, supported by the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services of the NJ Department of Human Services, where callers can find support. It is appropriate for those at any stage of the addiction recovery process. By calling (844) 276-2777, callers from all backgrounds can get help, from those seeking treatment for the first time to those seeking help avoiding relapse. They can be connected with nearby services that are in their price range.
- Bergen New Bridge Medical Center: This charity care option helps low-income people get low-cost or free addiction treatment services at a leading provider in New Jersey. Bergen’s Substance Use Disorder Treatment Program offers detox, residential, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient rehabilitation options. Bergen’s focus is on a continuum of care, including long-term follow-up support with alumni of the program.
- Carrier Clinic: This nonprofit organization offers some free recovery and prevention programs.
- Cope Center: The focus of this organization is on behavioral health, which includes adult outpatient rehabilitation services. As a nonprofit, Cope accepts some insurance as well as public funding. No one is turned away due to inability to pay, and Cope will work on a sliding scale fee schedule and offers other financial resources for those in need.
- Damon House: This organization was formed to help those in need of substance abuse treatment with both residential and outpatient treatment options. Programs also help participants become independent once their rehabilitation program has concluded. Many indigent individuals turn to Damon House because no one is turned away due to inability to pay for the programs; for those who are able to pay, Damon House bases payment on a sliding scale.
- Other Treatment Options:
Medicare & Medicaid Options. NJ State Funded Rehabs
- Integrity House: This organization offers programs for individuals and families to overcome substance abuse problems. The Hudson County location offers free outpatient rehabilitation options.
- Market Street Mission: This faith-based organization is focused on providing free and low-cost services to those in desperate need. In addition to offering substance abuse recovery support, the organization provides shelter, food, and showers for the homeless; job training for those transitioning from rehabilitation to long-term recovery; referrals for detox and other emergency services; and applications for government services. As a Catholic charity, Market Street Mission expects nothing in return for services rendered.
- My Father’s House: This faith-based intensive outpatient rehabilitation program focuses on Gloucester County, NJ. The organization is licensed through the New Jersey Division of Addiction Services and offers sliding scale treatment and financial assistance for those most in need of substance abuse treatment and recovery services. Because so many low-income and impoverished people seek help through My Father’s House, 98% of those they help do not pay anything for treatment.
- Narcotics Anonymous (NA): An international support group organization offering regular meetings in the style of Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous focuses on other intoxicating substances of abuse. New Jersey has many locations that host free support group meetings.
- NewBridge: This comprehensive counseling service includes substance abuse and chemical dependency recovery support for adolescents, adults, and senior citizens. Some of the programs are free while others are affordable for low-income individuals. The nonprofit’s philosophy is that no one should be turned away from care due to lack of finances.
- Universities Helping Sober Students: New Jersey has a long history of offering sober housing and campus health care for students overcoming substance abuse problems. Rutgers University was the first college in the state to offer college-based recovery at their New Brunswick campus; the Newark campus followed in 1993. Then, William Patterson University joined the movement in 2010. These campuses offer sober housing, therapy and support programs through student mental health services, and grants for students who need financial assistance for recovery while in college.
Help for Everyone
Regardless of ability to pay, anyone who needs to overcome substance abuse problems should be able to get help. Fortunately, as the understanding of addiction changes, more programs are offering low-cost, income-assisted, and free rehabilitation services.
In many cases, these are coupled with other services for those in need, such as shelter, food, and medical care. In other instances, these free options are funded by religious charities. Regardless of how these options are supported, they do not turn anyone away, and they will often write referrals for other programs if their specific program does not provide the level of care a person needs.
- State of New Jersey Health Department. (n.d.). Drug-Related Deaths.
- Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services. (2019). New Jersey Drug and Alcohol Abuse Treatment: Substance Abuse Overview 2018 Statewide.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2019). National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS): 2018.
- U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs. (2019). Veterans Alcohol and Drug Dependence Rehabilitation Program.