Drug and Alcohol Addiction Hotline Guide

Many people are unaware of the drug and alcohol addiction hotlines available for those affected by substance use disorders. Alcohol and drug addiction hotlines are free and confidential resources that can provide information on local resources and assistance in finding a treatment program.

This article will explore addiction hotline resources, what to expect when you call an addiction hotline, and how they can be helpful for those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction.

What Are Drug and Alcohol Addiction Hotlines?

Drug and alcohol hotlines connect you with substance use disorder professionals who can offer confidential, free, and in many cases, 24-hour-a-day help 365 days a year.

Addiction hotlines are helpful, trusted starting points for:1

  • Obtaining general information about substance use disorders.
  • Receiving information about recovery from addiction.
  • Getting referrals to local treatment facilities, community-based organizations, and support groups.

Hotlines aren’t just for the person who’s addicted; they are also beneficial for friends, family, and anyone else affected by addiction. After all, addiction doesn’t just impact the person who misuses substances; it can also affect their friends, family, and loved ones.2

Hotlines are anonymous and confidential, so you do not have to provide any identifying information, including your name. By calling a hotline, you’ll be connected to a trusted advisor who understands what you or your loved one are going through. In many cases, advisors are in recovery themselves or have known someone with a substance use disorder, so they can personally relate to your experience and will be knowledgeable in providing the best guidance possible.

Should I Call a Drug Addiction Hotline?

It is common to feel hesitant to call a hotline, especially if you are unsure if you are ready to talk about treatment. You might even be feeling fearful about confronting the idea that you or your loved one may have a problem. Remember, a hotline is there for support—you don’t have to make any decisions when you call. You can use the hotline as a starting point to learn more about addiction and decide what to do next after your call.

What is a Substance Use Disorder? 

A substance use disorder is a condition that is defined by uncontrollable misuse of an addictive substance despite the negative consequences that can develop as a result.3 The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that in 2020:4

  • 28.3 million people had an alcohol use disorder.
  • 18.4 million people had an illicit drug use disorder.
  • 16% of people with a substance use disorder diagnosis were addicted to both alcohol and illicit drugs.
  • Only 4 million people received any substance use treatment.

Other mental health issues, like depression and anxiety, can also affect addiction and often co-occur with substance use disorders. 17 million people in the United States had both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder in 2020.4Because mental health and addiction commonly occur together, drug and alcohol rehabs like Desert Hope incorporate co-occurring disorder treatment into its programs.

Are Drug Addiction Hotlines Anonymous?

Many hotlines are confidential and you can remain as anonymous as you would like. Some drug and alcohol addiction hotlines will ask for your zip code or other geographic information, but only to help identify and connect you with local resources.5

Most hotlines that address mental health and addiction are committed to respecting your privacy and “rigorously protect all the confidential and identifying information shared.”6 If you are concerned about your privacy or the privacy of your loved one when you call an addiction hotline, you can ask upfront for them to confirm your confidentiality.

Can I Report a Drug Dealer Anonymously?

Yes, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) allows people to submit a tip on any noticed possible violations of controlled substances. This may include distributing, manufacturing, trafficking, or growing controlled substances.7

The DEA online tip form makes providing your personal information, including name and phone number, optional. If you believe you have witnessed an immediate threat to someone’s health and safety, report it promptly to your local police.7

Reaching out to an addiction hotline can be a good first step in getting help if you are concerned about a friend or family member who has been buying substances.

Do I Need Drug and Alcohol Rehab?

If you are concerned that you or someone you love might need rehab, it can be helpful to know some signs of drug and alcohol addiction. Here is the criteria that would be followed to potentially diagnose you or a loved one with a substance use disorder:8

  • The substance is taken in larger amounts and over longer periods of time than the person intended.
  • The person has a persistent desire or has unsuccessfully attempted to cut down or control substance use.
  • A lot of time is spent in obtaining, using, or recovering from the effects of the substance.
  • There is a strong urge to use the substance, also known as craving.
  • Recurrent substance use leads to a failure to fulfill major obligations at home, work, or school.
  • Continued use of the substance despite recurrent or persistent social and interpersonal problems.
  • Recreational, social, or occupational activities are reduced or given up because of the substance use.
  • Repeated substance use in physically hazardous situations.
  • Continued substance use despite being aware of persistent psychological or physical problems caused or made worse by the substance use.
  • A need for considerably larger amounts of the substance to achieve the desired effect, also referred to as tolerance.
  • Acute negative physical symptoms when the substance is not taken, also known as withdrawal.

Addiction hotlines can be a great resource for finding services that diagnose and treat addiction, however it is important to note that only a certified professional can officially diagnose a substance use disorder.

Why Should I Go to Treatment?

Receiving professional treatment for drug and alcohol addiction is an essential part of successful long-term recovery. Research has shown that a combination of behavioral therapy and addiction treatment medicines leads to the best chance of success for most individuals.9

Drug and alcohol treatment programs use evidence-based addiction therapies that target the underlying behaviors and cognitive patters driving addiction. Desert Hope utilizes addiction therapies including:

These therapies will help each patient build the skills needed to resist substance use in the future, address motivation to change, and improve problem-solving skills for relapse prevention.10

What to Expect When You Call a Drug Abuse Hotline

The questions asked by an addiction hotline are relatively standard for all hotlines, however it can vary based on personal situations. Some common questions include:

  • Are you in immediate danger or a crisis situation?
  • Are you inquiring about yourself or a loved one?
  • Are you having thoughts of suicide?
  • What substances have you been using?
  • How long have you been using substances?
  • Do you also struggle with any mental health issues?
  • Do you have a specific location or rehab facility in mind for addiction treatment?
  • Do you have health insurance?

If you are calling for a loved one, it can be helpful to have the above information prepared beforehand.

Getting Help for Drug and Alcohol AddictionPatient on tablet

Addiction hotlines can be a useful tool to learn more about and access treatment for substance use disorders. Our drug rehab in Las Vegas offers levels of care that range from medical detox to outpatient services. When the rehab admissions process begins, you will be screened for a variety of factors, such as the severity of your drug or alcohol use, whether you have co-occurring mental or physical problems, and your risk for severe or complicated withdrawal to help determine the appropriate level of care for you.

The levels of addiction treatment we offer at Desert Hope include the following:

  • Medical detox – Typically the first step in addiction rehab, medical detox assists patients in returning their body to a drug free state. Patients receive 24/7 supervision from physicians and nurses.
  • Inpatient treatment – Patients live at the facility for the duration of their rehab and participate in a range of behavioral therapy sessions.
  • Standard outpatient rehab – Individuals receive therapy throughout the week while continuing to live at home.
  • Partial hospitalization programs (PHP) – Patients receive therapy at least 5 days per week for 6 hours or more per day. This “day program” allows patients to receive intensive treatment while living at home.
  • Intensive outpatient programs (IOP) – Patients participate in therapy three days a week for a minimum of 3 hours per day while continuing to live at home.
  • Sober living homes – After treatment, individuals can choose to transition to a sober living facility to continue focusing on recovery before returning home.
  • Rehab Aftercare – Staying connected with alumni and relapse prevention activities after treatment to stay on track in recovery.

Along with tailoring the level of care and treatment to each patient’s specific needs, Desert Hope offers multiple length of stay options including:

Remaining in treatment for a sufficient amount of time is important for recovery. Learn more about what to expect during addiction treatment intake at Desert Hope.

How to Pay for Addiction Treatment

Desert Hope works with all prospective clients to help access the treatment they need. A common method for paying for addiction treatment is with insurance. Desert Hope accepts insurance plans that cover treatment either partially or fully and that are both in-network and out-of-network.

If insurance is not an option for you or your loved one, there are other ways to cover the cost of treatment, including payment plans as well as financing and/or loans. To learn more about paying for treatment, speak with one of our admissions navigators at .

Alcohol and Drug Addiction Hotline Numbers

You can also contact the following hotlines for additional free and confidential assistance and referrals for substance abuse or crisis issues:

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) hotline at 1-800-662-4357. This hotline provides free, confidential information 365 days per year, 24 hours a day. Information is available in English and Spanish.
  • National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255. This hotline is dedicated to helping people in crisis and provides free, confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can call to talk about substance abuse, economic worries, relationships, sexual identity, getting over abuse, depression, mental and physical illness, and loneliness, and any other issue that is troubling you.
  • IMAlive chatline, where you can chat online with a trained volunteer using an instant messaging service. This is a beneficial option for people who prefer the anonymity of online communication and would feel more comfortable with a chat option. Please see their website to access the chat option (located in the upper right corner of the site).
  • Boys Town Hotline at 1-800-448-3000, available 24/7, or text VOICE to 20121 noon-midnight CST. You can discuss any issues that are weighing on your mind. Spanish-speaking counselors and translation services representing more than 140 languages are available, along with a TDD line (1-800-448-1833) that allows counselors to communicate with speech-impaired and deaf callers.
  • Lines for Life at 800-273-8255 or text ‘273TALK’ to 839863. This hotline is available 24/7 and is dedicated to preventing substance abuse and suicide. Services are available to anyone in need, but the organization targets those struggling with addiction and recovery, military service members, veterans, older adults, youth, and their families.

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