ADDICTION HOTLINE

SpringBoard Recovery is a professional drug and alcohol rehab center.

Our addiction hotline operators are standing by.

SpringBoard’s staff is trained to handle urgent phone calls and determine the best course of action for addiction treatment.

Alcohol and drug addiction hotlines (or helplines) provide a toll-free telephone number for those people who are struggling with their substance abuse, or their drug or alcohol addiction.

Hotline Is Free, Confidential, Anonymous

Either confidentially or anonymously, anyone can call the toll-free number, whether they are the person with the substance use issue themselves, or they are a relative or a friend phoning because they are concerned about someone else.

In this article, we will look in detail at these hotlines – potential lifelines for some callers –  and describe how they can really help those who are struggling with substance abuse problems or actual substance addiction, medically described as substance use disorder (SUD).

Not only will we answer the following questions and more, but we’ll also provide you with a comprehensive list of free addiction hotline resources, and other ways to get the addiction information you need:

  • “Why should I call a substance addiction helpline?”
  • “What kind of questions will they ask me?”
  • “What questions should I ask them?”
  • “Is my information protected?” and “How do I know if it’s 100% confidential?”
  • “Can I arrange for the start of my addiction treatment?”

What is a Drug & Alcohol Addiction Hotline?

Drug and alcohol hotlines, or substance abuse hotlines as they are often called, is a toll-free phone numbers people can call when they need help with their drug or alcohol use or addiction issues.

These hotlines are openly available to either the drug or alcohol user themselves, as well as their family, friends, or anyone else closely connected with them who is concerned about that person’s substance use.

When the drug or alcohol user contacts an addiction hotline personally, their call is answered by a trained staff member who is there to discuss:

  • The individual’s current situation
  • The concerns the individual has about their substance use, and their physical and mental health
  • The various treatment options available to them, such as the range and suitability of the addiction treatment programs being offered, and
  • Anything else relevant to the individual’s substance use or SUD

The professional and fully-trained staff member can provide information on a wide variety of topics, such as:

  • Treatment options
  • How to help a loved one
  • Residential facilities
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Choosing a treatment center, and
  • Substance Use Prevention

When someone else who is personally involved calls an addiction hotline, their call is answered in a similar way, normally with the addition of practical advice about how to discuss their loved one’s substance use directly.

Photo of a group of young people outdoor

For many people, particularly the actual drug or alcohol user, calling an addiction hotline can be an intimidating thing to do, it can be extremely difficult, and it can also be quite an emotional call as well.

Interested & Insured?

If you’re interested in knowing more about treatment as you wish to start your recovery journey as soon as possible, and you have health insurance, please keep all your information ready.

Prospective addiction treatment programs may ask about your insurance coverage.

In many cases, private insurance will cover some or all of your addiction treatment. Payment options like financing, loans, and sliding scales often help to offset any remaining costs.

For First-Time Callers

As any professional hotline responder knows perfectly well, it is important to remember that the individual may be finally addressing their substance use for the very first time.

Trained staff members understand that it takes a huge amount of courage for someone to make a call to an addiction hotline in the first place – often because of their own personal experiences of substance abuse and addiction).

They also understand the person making the call has little to no idea what will happen when they do call, or what will or may happen next.

As they may well also be emotional and perhaps even a little desperate, a professionally trained responder will be able to calm them down and get them focused on the next steps.

It should not be forgotten that making the decision to seek help and treatment for a substance abuse problem is a big, brave step for anyone to take.

The rest of this article will hopefully persuade some readers in similar situations that making that first call to an addiction hotline really is the best possible thing they can do right now.

Different Types of Substance Addiction Hotlines & Helplines

The addiction hotlines that are currently available in the U.S. fall into three distinct types; these are each described below:

  • Outsourced Addiction Hotlines

    For business reasons, many addiction treatment providers and drug rehabs simply outsource their hotlines to specialized companies to handle these calls on their behalf.

    Usually run on a nationwide basis, the outsourced hotline responders (normally a trained professional) will direct callers straight to an addiction treatment facility.

    However, the facility you will be referred to will usually be one who they are contracted with, so they can receive their commission. In other words, you may not be directed to the most appropriate for your situation, eg. the closest or the most highly rated facility that offers the treatment you need.

  • In-house Addiction Hotlines

Obviously, there are many private addiction treatment providers and facilities – SpringBoard Recovery included – who run their own addiction hotlines – in-house, where they can train or hire their own professional staff.

Drug and alcohol addiction in the U.S. In 2019, among those with a SUD, 7.4 million struggled with illicit drugs, 14.1 million struggled with alcohol use, 2.2 million struggled with both illicit drugs and alcohol and 9.5 million with a SUD also suffered from a mental health disorder. This is know medically as a co occurring disorder or dual diagnosis
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This is the best option for those who want to contact the drug and alcohol rehab of their choice.

  • Government / Charity-Funded Helplines

    Furthermore, there are those national and state addiction hotlines and helplines run by federal and state governments, eg. the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

    Additionally, there are several hotlines run by major charitable foundations, eg. Covenant House [see Free Resources section for more details], a New York-based nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization providing vital care for the homeless, trafficked, and at-risk youth in the U.S.

    NOTE: You can find more free resources for substance addiction hotlines further along in this article.

Addiction Hotlines: Privacy & Confidentiality

One of the most important things people appreciate about calling a drug and alcohol addiction hotline is that their phone call is kept totally private and confidential. It’s important for callers, especially those reaching out for the first time, not to worry about other people finding out about their substance abuse issues.

Remember, you are discussing your physical and mental health, and, just like any patient records kept by your family physician or a hospital, you are fully protected by U.S. law.

Your Rights Under “The Privacy Rule”

The Privacy Rule, a Federal law, grants you certain rights about your personal health information, and it sets rules and limits on who can either look at or receive your health information:

  • The Privacy Rule applies to all forms of individuals’ protected health information – electronic, written, or oral.
  • Additionally, The Security Rule, another Federal law, requires your health information in electronic form is secure.
  • Both of the rules (with the addition of the Breach Notification Rule) are provided by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (1966), known commonly as HIPAA.

Any calls made to SpringBoard Recovery’s addiction hotline are fully compliant with HIPAA standards in both confidentiality and security.

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Drug and alcohol addiction in the U.S. In 2019, among those with a SUD, 7.4 million struggled with illicit drugs, 14.1 million struggled with alcohol use, 2.2 million struggled with both illicit drugs and alcohol and 9.5 million with a SUD also suffered from a mental health disorder. This is know medically as a co occurring disorder or dual diagnosis

Addiction Hotlines: Commonly Asked Questions

Before calling an addiction hotline, it is important for people to be prepared to answer the various questions that will be asked during the call.

It is critical for the caller to be as honest as possible, and remember, these calls are governed by law – they are completely confidential.

Honesty is vital. Without having all the necessary information, the staff member will not be able to refer the caller to the right professional help.

It is the staff member’s job to gather as much information as possible from the caller. Then, they will have a more complete picture of the situation, and be able to offer the right kind of assistance.

Questions Commonly Asked by Addiction Hotline Responders

Are There Other Ways of Contacting an Addiction Hotline?

Many addiction hotlines are simply a free-to-call number in the U.S., with a few also offering other ways to contact the support you need, such as texting.

However, nowadays, the majority of professional drug and alcohol rehabs who run an addiction hotline also use “Chat” features that are enabled on their rehab’s website.

Either option is good if you really don’t want to physically speak to someone. However, eventually, it will still be necessary to either speak on the phone or visit a drug rehab.

There really is no need for anyone to be nervous about calling an addiction hotline. The call is 100% confidential, and the responders who answer the phones are highly trained professionals.

These people know how to answer any questions the caller might have and can direct them to a place where they can get the help they need.

Is There a Risk of Being Arrested If Someone Calls an Addiction Hotline?

Unfortunately, many people are just afraid to call addiction hotlines for help because they are worried about the legal consequences of their drug use.

Often, they are concerned that calling and admitting to drug abuse will somehow automatically trigger a call to the police, and they might get arrested at some point in the future.

Please, rest assured that is certainly not going to happen.

The sole purpose of addiction hotlines is to help the caller get the right assistance for their substance abuse problem. It is definitely not to inform the police.

All calls are always handled without any judgment of any kind whatsoever, and without notifying any authorities – the only exception being if the caller is in imminent medical danger.

We are here only to help you recover.

Are you in immediate danger or in an emergency situation?

Usually, the first question asked when someone calls an addiction hotline, is simply to ensure the caller is safe and not in harm’s way, and that they didn’t call when they should be calling 911 or another emergency number.

Once the hotline responder is sure that the caller is safe, they’ll want to know how things are going and what prompted the call.

This is designed to relax the caller and simply get them talking, as many callers will be hesitant to speak initially.

What substance or substances are you addicted to or struggling with?

It is important for addiction hotline staff to know exactly what substances the caller is using or believes they are addicted to. Is it alcohol? Is it drugs? If it’s drugs, which ones?

This information helps with the next stages of the call.

During drug and alcohol rehab, different SUDs can be treated in a similar way, but certain substances do require specific additional treatment or therapy; for example, if someone has an opioid use disorder (OUD), it is likely they will need medically assisted treatment (MAT).

Callers need to make sure they disclose all of the substances they or their loved ones are using. It is vital for addiction hotline staff to have all the necessary information before they can make any decisions regarding assistance or treatment.

How often do you use this substance?

It is important for addiction hotline staff to know the frequency of the drug use – how often a person is using substances to get high or to get through the day.

This can help determine how serious the person’s use or addiction is.

In turn, they can then make a professional recommendation about the level of treatment that will be needed in order for the person to successfully recover.

Frequency of use can vary greatly.

For some, it’s just for recreational purposes, and for others, it’s now become a daily way of coping.

Others may only use sporadically, but they still find it difficult to stop their drug use on their own.

How long have you been using this substance?

Addiction hotline staff will also need to know how long the substance user has been taking drugs or drinking alcohol.

With that in mind, it is helpful to give as much historical information as possible.

For example, if a person is now addicted to cocaine, but they started abusing substances by excessive alcohol use and smoking marijuana, it is important to inform the hotline responder of this.

As a general rule, people who have been suffering from SUD for a longer period of time often need a higher level of care.

When someone is relatively new to substance use, it is possible that they may not be suffering from SUD at this point in time.

However, they may still require professional help to stop their substance use, but they may not have progressed to the point of needing more intensive treatment.

In situations like these, regular counseling/therapy sessions, with the addition of 12-Step meetings, might give them all the support they need.

Do you have any physical or mental health issues that you are aware of?

Addiction hotline staff will ask about any physical or mental health issues that the caller may be struggling with.

As with most problems, an addiction typically has a root cause – this could be pain management, depression, or some form of previous trauma in their lives.

Substance use has become their own form of “self-medication” for the root issue they are constantly dealing with.

Here are some common examples of a “root cause” or catalyst for substance use:

  • A person who is constantly misusing prescription painkillers or heroin may be doing it to help ease their physical pain.
  • A person who has become an alcoholic may actually be trying to self-medicate their social anxiety symptoms.
  • A person who abuses hallucinogenic drugs, such as mushrooms, might be doing it because it makes them feel less depressed.
  • A person who is abusing stimulants may have undiagnosed and untreated ADHD.
  • A young person who has become addicted to inhalants may have started using them because of peer pressure from friends – however, before long, they found they could not stop.

The NIDA stated that around 50% of people who go to drug and alcohol rehab are also dealing with mental health issues.

Infographic about NIDA statistic

Medically termed co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis, it is critical that any future addiction treatment is modified to include treatment for the mental health issue.

It is highly possible for people with co-occurring disorders to be completely unaware of their situation. However, these individuals need addiction treatment that includes dual diagnosis treatment, which is designed to resolve both simultaneous issues.

Have you ever sought help for your problem with this substance before?

Many callers to addiction hotlines are calling for the very first time – they have never been to rehab before, and they may never even have reached out to anyone for help before.

However, some callers have literally “been there, done that,” and, unfortunately, the drug rehab they attended wasn’t successful for them.

It is a fact that some people relapse after leaving drug rehab. It may be a week, a month, a year, or even further down the line.

In fact, the NIDA has reported that the relapse rate for addiction treatment is between 40-60%, which is very similar to other chronic diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension.

Infographic about relapse rate for addiction treatment

Addiction hotline staff will ask about any other drug and alcohol rehab programs the caller has worked with in the past, and ask for details about the type of treatment they received.

For instance, a person who has gone through an outpatient treatment program (OP), but sadly relapsed will normally require something more intensive, such as an inpatient (residential) treatment program (IP), to help them be successful.

Are you ready to go to a drug and alcohol rehab facility to get the professional help you need?

One of the final questions most addiction hotlines will ask is whether the caller (or their loved one) is ready to seek help at an alcohol and drug rehab. Oftentimes, the answer to this question is “Yes.”

At that point, the hotline responder will usually provide them with a referral and any other additional information they might need about how to get started.

However, there are obviously times when the answer is “No” – especially if the caller is not the substance user, but they are calling for a loved one.

If that is the case, the responder may offer additional suggestions that can help, such as how best to discuss the drug or alcohol use with the user, and how they can best encourage the user to take action for the problem.

Furthermore, there are more drug and alcohol addiction and substance use-related hotlines available on a state-by-state basis.

For example, many state government websites will also provide local drug and alcohol resources to those in need.

To find your state government’s website, do a web search for your state name and ‘.gov’. Once your state website is located, substance use resources shouldn’t be hard to find, and should provide further phone contacts for assistance.

Springboard Recovery

SpringBoard Recovery: Here to Help

  • Do you have an issue with drugs or alcohol, and have concerns about your health?
  • Are you suffering from drug addiction or alcoholism, and you believe you are ready to do something proactive about it?
  • Or do you know someone who does?

At SpringBoard Recovery, we operate an addiction hotline that is ready and waiting 24/7 to receive your call.

Please contact us right away to get started on your recovery journey.

External Sources:

  • National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA). Understanding Drug Use & Addiction. June 2018. Available at DrugAbuse.gov.
  • National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA). Home page. 2021. Available at DrugAbuse.gov.
  • U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Your Rights Under HIPAA. November 2020. Available at HHS.gov.
  • U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. September 2018. Available at CDC.gov.
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). 2019 National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). 2020. Available at SAMHSA.gov.
  • U.S. National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). Provisional Drug Overdose Death Counts: December 2019 to December 2020. Available at CDC.gov.
  • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism. Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder. April 2021. Available at NIAAA.NIH.gov.
  • American Psychiatric Association (APA). “The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition.” 2021. Available at Books.Google.com.
  • National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA). Commonly Used Drugs Charts. August 2020. Available at DrugAbuse.gov.
  • National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA). Comorbidity: Substance Use & Other Mental Disorders. June 2018. Available at DrugAbuse.gov.
  • Poison Control: National Capital Poison Center. Home page. 2021. Available at Poison.org.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Home page. 2021. Available at SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Home page. 2021. Available at SAMHSA.gov.
  • National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA). Home page. 2021. Available at DrugAbuse.gov.
  • National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD).  Home page. 2021. Available at NCADD.org.
  • Partnership to End Addiction. Home page. 2021. Available at DrugFree.org.
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). NAMI Helpline. 2021. Available at NAMI.org.
  • Covenant House Teen Hotline (NineLine). Home page. 2021. Available at CovenantHouse.org.
  • National Runaway Safeline. Home page. 2021. Available at 1800runaway.org.
  • Crisis Text Line. Home page. 2021. Available at CrisisTextLine.org.
  • Arizona Department of Health Services. Contact Information. 2021. Available at DCS.AZ.gov.
  • Arizona Drug Addiction Helpline. Home page. 2021. Available at ArizonaDrugAddictionHelpline.com.

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