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State Funded Drug Rehab. Problem…What Problem?

I've been working hard as of late on a book on low cost drug rehabs, and as a part of this book I wanted to be able to explain how someone would go about claiming any entitled state subsidized benefits The process has been enlightening to say the least, and I can now understand just how frustrated people can get by a system that seems designed to have them fail.

Who you gonna call?

Firstly, who even knows where you're supposed to go or who you’re supposed to call to find out about state funded programs. The information is there, but it took me a lot of determined searching to find it, and I spend most of my day reading about addiction on the internet!

Did you say 8 weeks?

Secondly, even if you are eligible for state funded programs, you can be looking at a waiting period of up to two months. TWO MONTHS! When you need help with an addiction, you can’t be waiting 8 weeks to get into rehab…you need it now! And it's not surprising that so many people just get so discouraged by the whole process that they give up, turn back to drugs and don’t even think about getting better again for a long while. I don’t blame any individual working within these governmental agencies, and I'm sure that they are doing their best and working with what they have; but I've got to say that the attitude that I got from a lot of these people was that the system is fine, the system is working, and we have everything in place that people need.

Finally, something that makes sense…

I was repeatedly sent to a SAMHSA rehab finder tool; which is quite a good tool in theory. What it is is you go to the SAMHSA web site, and when you finally navigate through the many many options, you find this tool. You type in your zip code, check off what you’re looking for from a list of options and this tool will come back to you with a list of rehab facilities within a few miles of your house.

Sounds like a great thing, and it is…in theory.

I tried it out for New York City, and I did get a number of hits. I was looking for rehabs that stated that they offered sliding fee scale payments, and I got great many that said that they did. Great! I started calling them…the first ten that on the federal government's treatment locator website claimed to offer sliding fee scale payment assistance, when you actually call them on the phone…have no idea what you are talking about! They take Medicare, which is great if you have Medicare, but if you had Medicare you would probably be getting service through your local state social services clinic already, and wouldn’t need to use the treatment locator.

So if you are looking for low cost rehabs on your own…I feel your pain. State and federal initiatives seem set to work great in theory, and are failing miserably in reality.


1) Make your websites better! They suck.

2) If you are going to offer web services, give us at least a hope of finding them on the internet.

3) Fix your treatment locator tool. It’s a good idea, but it’s not working, and you just keep sending people to use it.

4) 2 months is not an acceptable waiting time

5) You may say that everyone can get help, I say different.

And the crazy thing is that there are thousands and thousands of rehabs in America that do offer low cost or free care, but unless you have incredible web savvy, or are willing to spend a week looking (I just did) you are not going to find them.

If you do want some help locating a low cost rehab by the way, drop me a line and I'll hook you up.

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Submitted by TR (not verified) on October 1, 2008 - 7:52pm.

I have a friend I am trying to help. Long term heroin addict with no insurance and no family money who needs to go to rehab in California. You are right about the websites being infuriatingly impossible to figure out. Can you point us to a few numbers or programs?

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Submitted by Martin Schoel on October 10, 2008 - 6:06am.

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