PJ Haarsma
August 24, 2020

What is a State Funded Drug Rehab?

Treatments for substance use disorders can be expensive, especially for individuals who are underinsured or uninsured. Unfortunately, the treatment cost is a deterrent to care for this group. Luckily, there are numerous resources designed to help those who cannot afford to pay for addiction treatment. State-funded drug and alcohol rehab is one such resource.

Statistics reveal that only 11% of over 21.2 million people aged 12 or older who needed substance use care received treatment at a specialty facility in 2018. Of this number, 1 in 3 cited a lack of health insurance or not being able to afford care as the reason for not receiving treatment.

But the good news is that individuals who are underinsured, uninsured, or unable to pay the cost of treatment can still seek professional care through low-cost or free addiction treatment programs. These programs are offered to eligible patients at no cost and are commonly provided at different state-funded rehab centers and hospitals as well as other organizations. In this article, we will focus on state-funded rehabs.

What are state-funded rehabs?

State-funded rehabs are addiction treatment facilities sponsored by the state. As the name suggests, the treatment centers use government funds to help those receiving substance abuse treatments. The funding sources vary from state to state, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) publication. But most of these programs get their dollars through state budgets, a combination of federal grants and reimbursement through Medicaid.


Many state-funded drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs exist, but many are limited in capacity.

Although these programs vary by state, most have strict eligibility requirements. Applicants may need to be citizens of the US and show some proof of residency in the state that they’re seeking rehab treatment. They also have to reveal their history and degree of addiction and demonstrate their inability to afford other care options based on different aspects, like lack of insurance, income, etc.

Joining a state-sponsored treatment center

A recent report by SAMHSA indicated that there were more than 2 million admissions to state-sponsored drug and alcohol treatment centers in 2017. With potentially a large number of applicants and limited funding, it may be difficult to get into a state-funded program. Eligible candidates are therefore likely to be placed on a waiting list until a spot becomes available. The wait can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. However, most programs will provide some form of support during the wait for an opening.

Benefits of state-funded drug rehab

The Cost – A majority of state-funded rehab centers provide treatment to eligible persons at substantially lower rates or even free of charge. Thanks to these programs, many people can get expert care without having to worry about the cost.

Safe environment – State-funded programs offer care in a controlled setting. This allows patients to be in a safe environment for a greater recovery opportunity. There’s also the interaction aspect – where patients get to mingle and talk with peers who are going through the same experience.

The care – These centers hire experienced and qualified experts. So patients are certain of getting quality services at these facilities.


State-funded drug rehabilitation programs have saved many people's lives, when they didn't have anywhere else to turn.

Downsides of state-funded drug rehab

Waiting times –The waiting times that are associated with these rehabs can be a bummer. Research shows that it’s essential to move quickly, especially when a long-term user is willing to get help. Often, the motivation is temporary. But most importantly, moving fast prevents further emotional and physical damage. But when it comes to the state-sponsored facility, patients have no option but to wait.

The revolving door -- Since these programs have limited funds and capacity, some patients feel that they might be released before they can complete their program. This leads to them feeling alienated from the entire thing and even lower their chances of attending a rehab again in the future.

Privacy – In addition to the waiting times, state-funded rehabs may not offer privacy as the private rehabs. Since the programs are government-operated, many patients aren’t as free to share personal information around their alcohol or drug addiction. The secrecy may limit the effectiveness of therapy and treatment.

What’s included in state-funded rehabs?

State-funded programs have well trained and skilled experts who can offer a quality treatment that uses techniques and evidence-based treatment that are result-oriented. Different studies have shown that treatment in public rehab facilities is just as effective (with about the same results) as private centers. But with limited funding, these rehabs aren’t always able to offer the latest in complementary therapeutic care and technologies compared to private treatment facilities.

State-funded rehabs may include anything from outpatient and inpatient care to partial hospitalization and follow-up support, just like private rehabs. And despite the chances of having more standard or basic recovery settings, these facilities can still offer effective detox, support services, and treatment options to help patients who are underinsured, uninsured individuals or have less income. Many state programs will even go to help the homeless and less-fortunate.


When resources are available, many state-funded and private charity addiction treatment programs can immensely help at-risk populations.

Even so, state-funded programs may not have the same in-house therapy or other support services as private ones. So, they refer patients to self-help groups and counseling services for behavioral health and other mental health issues. Again, free rehabs won’t have the most comfortable accommodations to meet the needs of the most sophisticated patients. State funding doesn’t offer all the comforts or other high-end amenities that are included in private residential treatment facilities.

But as we discussed earlier, the addiction treatment cost in a state-funded rehab facility is significantly lower (or even free) compared to a private facility. Although the actual cost of care varies based on a person’s eligibility for the program and the types of services that are needed, state-funded rehabs are way cheaper and an attractive option to the uninsured, underinsured, and low-income earners.

How to find a state-funded rehab facility near you:

SAMHSA runs a Directory of Single State Agencies for Substance Abuse Services that highlights the state-sponsored rehabs in all states. Although the Single State Agencies (SSAs) are in charge of offering drug and alcohol prevention guidance and prevention services to the entire population of their state, most of their resources are geared towards providing addiction treatment to the uninsured, underinsured, and low-income earners.

SAMHSA also offers a Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator tool that allows patients to find state-funded rehab facilities nearby. Patients can customize their search to specific requirements to narrow down the options. For those who don’t want to use tools or references, a simple Google can reveal a list of state-sponsored treatment facilities nearby.


Each state provides alternative options to private care. Most of these programs are available free of charge to eligible candidates. Although state-funded rehabs may not be categorized as luxury care, they still offer the highest level of care needed along with a conducive atmosphere to recovery.


Who is eligible for state-funded drug rehab programs?

Eligibility for state-funded drug rehab programs often includes residency in the state offeringthe program, proof of income or lack of insurance, and evidence of substance use disorder.These programs prioritize assistance based on various factors, including the severity ofaddiction and financial need.

Can I choose the type of treatment I receive in a state-funded drug rehab program?

In state-funded drug rehab programs, the type of treatment available to an individual may beinfluenced by the program's assessment of their specific needs, available resources, andcapacity. While there may be some flexibility, options could be limited compared to privatefacilities.

What happens after completing treatment in a state funded drug rehab program?

After completing treatment in a state-funded drug rehab program, individuals often receive a discharge plan that includes recommendations for continued care, such as outpatient therapy, support groups, or aftercare programs to support long-term recovery and prevent relapse.

What types of addiction treatment services are offered in state-funded drug rehab programs?

State-funded drug rehab programs typically offer a variety of addiction treatment services, including detoxification, inpatient and outpatient treatment, counseling, therapy sessions, and support groups. These programs aim to provide comprehensive care tailored to the individual's needs to support recovery and prevent relapse.

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