Drug & Alcohol Addiction Hotline Guide
Addiction is widespread in American society, touching millions of families every year; however, “only 10% of US individuals who need treatment for drug addiction receive it.”1
Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the resources that are available for those impacted by drug or alcohol abuse. If you or someone you care about is struggling with addiction, making a call to a substance abuse hotline can be a great first step in the recovery process.
While hotlines are excellent resources that can provide information on substance abuse and offer referrals to treatment centers, they are not a replacement for professional help and cannot provide emergency care. If you are in a medical or mental health emergency, call 911 immediately.
What are Drug and Alcohol Addiction Hotlines?
Hotlines are helpful, trusted starting points for:
- Receiving information about recovery.
- Obtaining general information about addiction.
- Getting referrals to rehabs.
Some also offer crisis services where you can talk about any matter that may be causing you distress.
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 abuses substances; it also takes a heavy toll on everyone involved in the user’s life.
Drug and alcohol hotlines connect you with substance abuse professionals who can offer confidential, free, and, in many cases, round-the-clock assistance.
Hotlines are anonymous and confidential, so you do not have to provide any identifying information (you don’t even have to give your name). By calling a hotline, you’ll be connected with a trusted advisor who understands what you (or your loved one) are going through. In many cases, advisors are in recovery themselves, so they have been in your shoes and will know how to provide the best guidance possible to get you started on the path to recovery.
Should you Call an Addiction Help Hotline?
Many people are hesitant to call a hotline because they aren’t sure if they’re ready to talk about treatment, or they might be afraid to confront the idea that they (or their loved one) may have a problem. Remember, a hotline is there for support—you don’t have to make any decisions at this point; you can use the hotline as a starting point and decide what to do next after your call.
You don’t have to make any decisions at this point; you can use the hotline as a starting point and decide what to do next after your call.
Substance Use Disorder Symptoms
Some people might not know if they should call because they’re unsure if they or someone they love is actually addicted. While it’s not necessary for you to know for sure in order to call, it may help you to know the signs and symptoms of a substance use disorder. They include:2
- Taking more drugs or drinking more or for longer than intended.
- Being unable to stop or cut back despite efforts to do so.
- Experiencing cravings for drugs or alcohol.
- Spending a lot of time getting, using, or recovering from one or more substances.
- Continuing to use drugs or alcohol despite relationship conflicts that arise from using.
- Giving up important social, recreational, or occupational activities because of substance use.
- Using drugs or alcohol despite it causes or worsens physical or mental health problems.
- Tolerance (greater doses are required to get the effects you want).
- Withdrawal, which involves experiencing unpleasant symptoms when you try to stop using.
These symptoms may indicate you or someone you care about has a problem that a hotline may be able to help you with. They can offer support, an open ear, and may be able to direct you to trusted treatment resources.
Treatment Options at Desert Hope Treatment Center
Are you ready to get treatment for yourself or a loved one? We can help. Desert Hope offers a continuum of care that is tailored to your specific needs and ranges from medical detox to outpatient services. Upon admission/intake into our program at Desert Hope, 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.
Some of the options offered by Desert Hope include:
- Co-occurring disorder/dual diagnosis treatment. For people who have a co-occurring disorder, integrated care is available to address both the substance abuse issue and the mental health condition. The goals are to achieve a medically stable state, reduce the risk of relapse, obtain stable housing, and engage in independent living.
- Medical detox. This is a series of interventions to help you safely and comfortably withdraw from the substance in a comfortable, quiet environment where you receive 24/7 care from substance abuse experts.
- This option is beneficial for those who are in an acute or medically unstable condition. You live at the facility and receive 24/7 care to help you achieve a medically stable state. You will receive a customized treatment plan that includes individual and group therapy and therapeutic activities. If you have a co-occurring disorder (such as depression), you will also receive integrated therapy to address these issues.
- If you are medically stable and do not require round-the-clock care but still need 24/7 access to support in a sober, structured treatment environment, this option may be appropriate for your needs. You live at the rehab facility and participate in individual and group therapies and other activities.
- Partial hospitalization (PHP). This is a high-intensity outpatient option for people who wish to live at home but require a high level of care. You participate in therapy for a minimum of 5 days per week, 6 hours per day.
- Intensive outpatient (IOP). In this form of care, you attend treatment 3 days per week for a minimum of 3 hours per day. It is less intensive than PHP and is designed to help you reintegrate into your daily life.
- Regular outpatient weekly therapy is the lowest-intensity treatment and is ideal for people stepping down from a higher level of treatment.
Desert Hope also offers a comprehensive treatment path for veterans and first responders. This program is dedicated to military veterans and first responders whose lives have been impacted by addiction and trauma. This treatment path includes a wide range of therapies to help veterans and first responders address trauma and work toward healthier ways of coping that don’t involve substance use.
Desert Hope offers a 90-day promise because they stand behind and believe in their program’s effectiveness. They guarantee you will stay clean and sober after you successfully complete 90 consecutive days of treatment with Desert Hope, or you can return to an American Addiction Centers facility for 30 days of complimentary treatment. Terms and conditions apply.
Alcohol & 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.
- Ayers, J., Nobles, A. & Dredze, M. (2019). Media trends for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 800-662-HELP addiction treatment referral services after a celebrity overdose. JAMA Internal Medicine, 179(3), 441-442.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Media guide: the science of drug use and addiction: the basics.