Drug abuse and addiction are at an all-time high in the United States. While 24.6 million Americans struggled with a substance use disorder in 2013, only a fraction of them sought treatment for their condition.

Approximately two million or more people seek help for drug abuse or addiction in the U.S. each year. Many resources have been implemented throughout the nation in an effort to reverse the increasing rates of drug abuse, addiction, and overdose. Drug abuse and addiction hotlines are a great way to ensure individuals get the help they need in a confidential manner.

What Are Drug Abuse And Addiction Hotlines?

Drug abuse and addiction hotlines, also called helplines, are toll-free numbers individuals can call to get more information about:

Treatment specialists answer hotlines and are fully equipped to assist individuals or concerned friends or family members in securing treatment or learning more about addiction.

Commonly Asked Hotline Questions And Answers

First, it’s important to understand which helpline you’re calling and how they may help you. Researching which hotline you need to call prior to making the call can help avoid revealing personal information to the wrong helpline.

Once you reach the hotline where you can get the information you need, you may have some questions before you get started. The following are some commonly asked hotline questions and answers:

Is My Information Kept Private?

Yes. All information for any helpline should be kept confidential and only used for the purpose of helping answer any questions a person may have about treatment or helping to secure treatment. However, if you’re worried about the privacy of a hotline, it may help ease your mind to first ask the hotline specialist to verify confidentiality.

What Information Will They Ask For When I Call A Hotline?

Most questions asked will depend on a few factors, including the type of information you seek, the hotline or recovery center you call, and whether you are also looking for an addiction treatment program.

Examples of questions a hotline specialist may ask include:

  • making sure the caller is not in a life-threatening situation
  • questions to determine the level of abuse or addiction
  • questions about any possible co-occurring substance use or mental health disorders
  • asking if the person is ready and willing to enter a treatment program
  • if the person is interested in treatment programs with a specific rehab center
  • if the person agrees to treatment, the specialist may begin the process by verifying insurance, one of the first steps to securing a program

When Can Addiction Treatment Begin And Where Do I Start?

Treatment specialists can put individuals and/or their family members in touch with the right resources for treatment. If the hotline is specific to a rehab center, the person who answers can immediately connect the individual with the necessary information to enter an addiction treatment program.

If the hotline is a state- or federally funded hotline, such as those found through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the person who answers will likely direct the person to a number of resources which can help with their specific need.

Types Of Drug Abuse Hotlines

There are a number of different hotlines someone can call when they need help for drug abuse or addiction. Often, addiction occurs alongside a range of other issues, such as mental health disorders, trauma, or personal struggles.

While drug abuse helplines can assist a person with information about addiction and treatment, other hotlines are available to help a person through related crises.

The following is a list of different types of hotlines and their toll-free numbers:

Alcohol And Drug Abuse Or Addiction Hotlines

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration— A federally funded organization dedicated to providing accurate, up-to-date information about addiction and mental health and assisting individuals in finding the help they need.

Toll-free number: (800) 662-HELP (4357)

Alcohol Hotline— A national hotline that works to help individuals with alcohol use disorders on the road to recovery.

Toll-free number: (800) 331-2900

National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Hopeline— A federally funded organization which provides research on drug and alcohol dependencies.

Toll-free number: (800) 622-2255

Crisis And Emergency Hotlines

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline— An organization which helps individuals through life crises and may point them toward treatment and resources if possible.

Toll-free number: (800) 273-TALK (8255)

Local Emergency (9-1-1): Many police forces now enforce a policy which states that no person in need of drug abuse or addiction treatment will be charged or jailed if they seek help from their local station.

Mental Health Hotlines

National Mental Health Association— devoted to helping individuals seek and secure treatment, information, and resources for mental health disorders.

Toll-free number: (800) 969-6642

Rehab-Specific Hotlines

Rehab-specific hotlines are those found on any drug rehab center website. Reputable rehab centers arm hotlines with addiction treatment specialists, ready to answer any and all questions a person may have regarding addiction and treatment.

Hotline numbers for excellent rehab centers with access to the best inpatient addiction treatment programs can be found on the centers’ websites or on general rehab center directories.

What Happens When I Call A Drug Abuse Hotline?

Staff who attend to hotlines are trained to answer any questions a person may have to the best of their abilities.

When calling a drug abuse hotline, treatment specialists may be able to answer questions regarding:

  • signs of drug or alcohol abuse and addiction
  • potential effects of abuse and addiction
  • treatment options
  • different treatment programs
  • how to help a loved one who may be abusing drugs or alcohol
  • connections to other resources, like outpatient programs
  • how to stage an intervention, when appropriate
  • prevention of drug abuse and addiction

The specialist may begin by asking a short series of questions to gauge the situation, then move on to a listening phase, letting the caller speak freely about their situation.

As the conversation moves forward, the specialist will let the caller know he or she is not alone, offer feelings of empathy (many hotline specialists have themselves been in recovery), and try to help the caller as much as possible.

Do I Need To Call A Hotline?

If you or someone close to you is showing signs of drug abuse or addiction, it may be time to call a hotline. Remember, calling a hotline and speaking to a specialist does not mean you are committing yourself or a loved one to a treatment program. However, a call to an addiction hotline can be a first step in the right direction—a first step on the path to addiction recovery.

Learn more about the signs of drug or alcohol abuse and addiction and where to find treatment by speaking to a specialist today.