Learn / Confidential Drug Addiction Hotlines

Confidential Drug Addiction Hotlines

Kayla Gill
 April 11th, 2023|   Clinically Reviewed by 
Rajnandini Rathod

Key Points

  • Addiction hotlines can be a helpful resource for learning about recovery.
  • Some “helplines” are scams designed to refer you to specific treatment centers.
  • Learn how to tell the difference, and what to expect when you call.

Addiction is overwhelming, both for the person who’s struggling with it and their loved ones. Looking for treatment can feel complicated, especially if you’re unfamiliar with your options. If you’re not sure where to start, drug addiction hotlines can be a helpful and confidential resource for learning more about addiction, recovery, and local treatment options. You can also search our collection of residential rehabs to find unbiased information about treatment centers and connect with them directly.

What Is a Drug Addiction Helpline?

A drug addiction helpline (or hotline) is a resource for people with addiction, their loved ones, and the public. They’re typically toll-free and confidential, which means that there’s no risk of negative consequences for calling. The advisors who work at hotlines are not law enforcement professionals and won’t share your information with law enforcement. 

Most hotlines can’t provide counseling services. Instead, they provide guidance on how to get help for drug addiction and substance use disorders. Hotline advisors are knowledgeable about addiction and treatment and can connect you with resources to learn more yourself. 

There are many different hotlines, some more helpful than others. Government-run helplines like the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helplines are toll-free and confidential. They connect you to local resources to help you start your recovery journey safely. And they’ll be able to answer your questions about addiction, its effects and symptoms, and the treatment process.  

However, some for-profit treatment centers also own addiction helplines. They’re not objective and will only connect you with rehabs that pay them for referrals. You can avoid these fake hotlines by looking for government or non-profit-run hotlines. 

Learn more about avoiding addiction treatment scams here

Hotlines to Call

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Call 1-800-662-4357 to find local treatment centers, support groups, and community services.
  • Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 or chat with a Crisis Counselor on their website or via WhatsApp.
  • National Drug Helpline: Call 844-289-0879 to talk to a counselor about treatment options in your area.
  • Partnership to End Addiction: Call 1-855-378-4373 to talk to a trained advisor about a child’s addiction. 
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Dial 988 to connect with a counselor and talk through your thoughts and feelings.

Emergency vs. Non-Emergency: Who to Call?

If someone is experiencing an overdose or other medical emergency, call 911 or go to the closest emergency room. You can also call Poison Control’s emergency toll-free number at 1-800-222-1222 to talk to an expert about how to spot warning signs and prevent overdose. 

In non-emergency situations, a substance abuse helpline can provide guidance for starting recovery. (These are not staffed by medical professionals who can safely advise you during an overdose or medical emergency.)

What Happens When You Call a Drug Abuse Hotline?

Calling a drug addiction helpline can open a path forward. The advisor will ask you a few questions to get more context about what you’re calling about. And you’ll be able to ask questions, too. 

What Questions Will I Be Asked?

The call usually starts with the advisor asking questions about you and why you’re calling:

  • Is this a medical emergency? If so, the advisor will tell you to call 911. 
  • What is your zip code? Advisors may ask you your zip code to connect you with local support. They will not attempt to identify you and won’t ask for more specific location information.
  • Who are you calling about? They’ll have different resources for people with addiction, their loved ones, and the general public. 
  • What substance are you calling about? How long have you been experiencing addiction? Different addictions require different treatments and considerations. 
  • Do you have any other mental or physical health issues? With this information, your advisor will determine if a rehab that treats co-occurring disorders would be best for you. 
  • Do you want to start treatment for your addiction? If so, they’ll refer you to local treatment services.  

Answering these questions may feel intimidating, but your advisor can best help you when you answer honestly. And they won’t judge or criticize you—they’re there to help you start your recovery journey with as much information as possible. 

For People With Addiction

If you’re struggling with addiction, helpline advisors can give you advice and information about addiction and the recovery process:

For Loved Ones

If you’re concerned about your loved one, you can call a drug addiction hotline to learn more about addiction and recovery:

  • How to talk to somebody about their addiction 
  • How to stage an intervention, including a referral to local intervention providers
  • The signs and symptoms of addiction and overdose
  • Information about codependency 
  • Available local treatment options 
  • Information about local support groups for loved ones 

Can I Begin Addiction Treatment at the Time of My Call?

When you call most drug hotlines, they’ll be able to refer you to local treatment services at the time of your call. But hotlines don’t provide addiction treatment themselves. However, they can connect you with helpful resources that can keep you safe until you enter rehab.

While most hotlines are open 24/7, 365 days a year, most inpatient rehabs’ admissions offices are not. So you may have to wait for business hours to actually connect with a rehab. 

If you’re looking for more information about treatment options, you can learn more about treatment options and contact centers directly by searching our collection of residential and inpatient rehabs.

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