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Drug Abuse Hotlines – 100% Confidential – 24/7

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

March 6, 2019

Drug abuse and addiction are serious problems that can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity. Hotlines dedicated to drug abuse and addiction are helpful resources that can answer virtually any question an individual may have on drug abuse and addiction treatment.

One in seven Americans will face a substance abuse disorder in their lifetime, according to the 2016 Surgeon General Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health. The good news is, there are a variety of treatment options available. Individuals who struggle with substance abuse and addiction can recover and start to live a drug-free life once more.

What Is A Drug Abuse Hotline?

Drug abuse hotlines are generally a toll-free number that provides information related to drug addiction and treatment options. Individuals struggling with addiction to prescription drugs, alcohol, and other substances can call the telephone number and obtain specific information on substance abuse, treatment facilities, and other drug-related topics.

It is also possible for loved ones and family members to call to find out more about drug abuse and addiction, as well as specific addiction treatment options such as inpatient or outpatient programs.

How Can Drug Abuse Hotlines Help?

Most drug abuse hotlines are available 24-hours seven days a week and are staffed with individuals whose ultimate goal is to help addicted individuals and their families find the resources they need.

Calls made to drug abuse helplines are anonymous and do not require those who call to provide any personal information. Reputable hotlines ensure that their staff is trained to be supportive and empathetic, not judgmental or uncaring.

Drug-Specific Hotlines: Addiction Treatment For Any Substance

Drug abuse hotlines are resource centers for information on substance abuse and addiction. These hotlines can provide individuals with a wide range of knowledge regarding specific substances. Substances commonly asked about include but are not limited to:

  • Alcohol
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Prescription Opioids (OxyContin, Vicodin)
  • Marijuana
  • Prescription Stimulants
  • PCP
  • Steroids
  • Tobacco

Is It Time To Call A Substance Abuse Hotline?

It is common for individuals who suffer from drug addiction to be blinded by the condition. They may be in denial about their situation or have a false sense of control over their drug use. Denial can make addicted individuals unaware that they have a problem.

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Every individual will have their own unique experiences with drug abuse, and addiction, which is why living with this disease can look different for everyone. In general, here are some behaviors that indicate someone has become dependent on drugs and should look into calling a drug abuse helpline:

  • the individual is not able to stop using the drug on their own
  • they are isolating themselves more than usual
  • a majority of their time is spent obtaining, using, or recovering from substance use
  • they are keeping odd hours and sleeping at strange times
  • fail to meet or maintain responsibilities at work, home, or school
  • they lose interest in their favorite activities
  • exhibit increased tolerance to the drug in question
  • they have trouble maintaining healthy relationships
  • when they miss a dose, they experience withdrawal symptoms
  • they engage in illegal activity to obtain more of the drug

These are only some indications that someone could be abusing substances, but this is not a complete list. There are many other potential signs of drug abuse and addiction.

If you suspect that someone you care about is misusing drugs because they have had significant behavioral changes recently, a helpline can help determine what steps to take next.

Drug Abuse Helplines Are For Concerned Loved Ones Too

Many people may find the information provided by a drug abuse hotline to be helpful, even if they are not sure if they have a drug abuse problem or not. If you suspect a family member has been misusing drugs or alcohol, it may be beneficial to call a helpline and get specific information about your exact concerns.

Drug abuse hotlines are available all day, every day, and there is nothing to lose by calling. It is common to feel nervous or afraid to call. Substance abuse is a very personal topic that can bring up a lot of different emotions.

Know that the person on the other end of the line is there to assist you in any way they can. Their job is to make sure all of your questions are answered and to provide potentially life-changing information.

What To Expect When Calling A Drug Abuse Hotline

Once you’ve dialed the number, a trained professional will answer. Typically, they will ask for your first name and the reason for your call first. In some cases, hotline staff may ask for your zip code to refer you to drug addiction resources in your area.

After that, it is entirely up to you. Feel free to ask any questions you may have. This phone call is a judgment-free zone. There are no stupid questions.

Topics drug abuse hotlines can provide information on, include:

  • signs and symptoms of substance abuse
  • treatment options
  • how to help a loved one
  • inpatient treatment programs
  • outpatient treatment clinics
  • local support groups
  • how to choose a treatment center
  • drug abuse prevention

If you are calling to find out more information on specific treatment options, be sure to have your health insurance information at the ready. One of the biggest reasons people don’t seek addiction treatment is because they think they cannot afford it. However, private health insurance plans typically provide some addiction treatment benefits.

Reputable drug and alcohol treatment centers also want to provide treatment to those who need it and may offer financing options or income-based sliding scale fees to help offset any remaining cost not covered by insurance.

It is important to note that drug abuse hotlines can only provide information. They do not directly provide addiction treatment services, such as counseling.

Is Health Insurance Necessary To Call A Drug Abuse Hotline?

Drug abuse helplines are free-of-charge referral services, so it is not necessary to have health insurance to make the call. If you currently do not have insurance or are underinsured, most hotlines will refer you to state-funded treatment programs.

In addition to state-funded treatment options, you may also ask for referrals to treatment facilities that offer sliding fee scales or accept Medicare or Medicaid insurance options. If you do carry a private insurance policy, it is best to contact them directly for a list of nearby healthcare providers and treatment facilities.

Are Drug Abuse Hotlines Confidential?

Almost all drug abuse hotlines provide 100 percent confidential service. Trained information specialists answer calls, provide information, and transfer calls to the appropriate state-specific intake centers.

In most cases, the information specialist will state at the beginning of the call that the information shared will be completely confidential. If this does not happen, feel free to ask, to make sure. The more comfortable you are during your call, the more you are likely to get the information you need.

Drug Abuse Helplines: Questions To Ask When Calling

Often individuals who abuse or are addicted to drugs can have many questions about their condition but still be unsure what to ask when they call a drug abuse hotline.

Here are some questions to consider when calling a helpline:

  • What types of therapy work best for drug abuse?
  • What are the next steps in my process?
  • What happens once I enroll in rehab?
  • Does my health insurance cover addiction treatment? How can I find out?
  • Is it necessary for me to enroll in a detox program?
  • Are there medications for [blank] addiction?
  • Is there a recovery center near me?

Recommended Drug Abuse Helplines

Attempting to locate appropriate addiction treatment for yourself or a loved one can seem daunting. This is especially true when trying to identify a program that can be tailored to an individual’s specific needs. However, there are many resources to help you along the way.

Addiction can be overcome. Start your recovery process with a phone call.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

1-800-662-HELP (4357)
1-800-487-4889 (TDD) for the hearing impaired

  • free and confidential service 24/7, 365-days-a-year.
  • treatment referral and information services, in English and Spanish,) on an individual basis and to families who are affected by substance use disorders and mental health issues.
  • referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Individuals who call this service can also order free publications and other information.

The Partnership at


  • a toll-free drug abuse helpline for parents.
  • free information and resources on teen drug use and addiction for parents, which can help them prevent and intervene in their children’s drug use.
  • find local addiction treatment options for a child who needs it.

National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD)

1 (800) NCA-CALL (622-2255)

  • alcohol-specific abuse information.
  • referrals to many affiliate programs around the country that can help with substance abuse issues.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-TALK (8255)

In addition to providing suicide prevention services, this hotline also provides information on drug and alcohol abuse, and how to connect with nearby professional addiction treatment.

Additional Resources

The National Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health America

These two nonprofit organizations have partnered to provide self-help support groups for individuals and families dealing with a variety of mental health disorders. Both organizations offer State and local affiliates throughout the country that may be especially helpful for people with co-occurring substance and mental health disorders.

Faces & Voices of Recovery

This is an advocacy organization for people who are participating in long-term recovery that works to reach out to medical, public health, criminal justice, and other communities to promote and celebrate recovery from substance abuse and addiction.

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) - Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition) — Where can family members go for information on treatment options?

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) - National Helpline

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