State Funded Rehabs

State Funded Rehabs

Authored by Pin Ng PhD

Edited by Hugh Soames

Reviewed by Michael Por, MD

State Funded Rehabs

Despite the fact that substance abuse and addiction is not an uncommon or unusual problem, very few people who have these issues are unable to receive the help that they need. This may be for a variety of reasons. It could be because they are not aware of options available to them or they are not currently interested in any professional help. It could also be because they assume that any sort of serious or rehabilitative treatment is not in their budget and therefore inaccessible to them.

This may partially be true, private state-of-the-art rehabilitative centers do cost money. Money that many of those who are abusing drugs or alcohol do not have access to. However, there are programs for those who are unable to afford a private rehabilitative treatment center. State funded rehabs were created for this purpose1

What are State Funded Treatment Centers?

State funded drug and alcohol rehabilitative centers were created to be an affordable option for those who need help but cannot afford other options. These centers provide quality, professional help for those who are wanting to quit their substance abuse. These state funded programs are usually extremely low cost or free of charge to those who meet the requirements.

These centers are funded through government and federal grants, state budget allocations, and Medicaid. The funding, size, and treatment options may vary by state, but they are perfectly effective options for those who are seeking treatment and cannot afford other centers. Not everyone has access to health insurance. These centers were created with those individuals and those in similar situations in mind.

Access State Funded Rehab with Medicare or Medicaid

You can gain access to many of these centers if you have Medicare or Medicaid. Medicare is insurance intended and created for those who are 65 years and older. It is federally funded and may also cover people of younger ages with certain disabilities or other conditions. Medicaid is an insurance assistance program and is both federally and state funded. This assistance program provides health insurance and coverage to those of any age with low income. It provides coverage regardless of disability, number of children, pregnancy or other conditions, and age.

Many of these state funded rehabilitative centers allow those in attendance to pay for their time with Medicare or Medicaid. Many of these institutions receive funding from Medicaid.

Am I Eligible for State Funded Rehabs?

What each state requires to be a qualifying patient at a state-funded rehab center varies. The requirements are often very strict and are not flexible because there are many applicants and often a limited amount of state funding.

To qualify for many and most state rehab centers, you will need to provide proof of:


  • Income
  • US Citizenship
  • Lack of insurance
  • Proof that you live in the state you are seeking rehabilitative treatment in


Many rehab centers will prioritize certain populations because of the limited space:


  • single mothers
  • pregnant women
  • those who abuse needle drugs such as heroin or cocaine
  • those with multiple conditions or disabilities


Each state funded rehab center often has its own criteria and own method of prioritizing who receives access in what order. This means that they often take the most serious cases, such as pregnant women, or those with multiple physical or mental conditions outside of substance abuse. Each state funded rehab accepts and denies patients based on their own specific criteria.

This criteria and process of being accepted into one of these treatment programs can be a long process. State Funded Rehabs are in high demand and often have a very limited space because of the way they are funded. They are quality, effective centers, but because they are funded by the state and other grant programs, the ability to reach a wide number of people is often not what they can do. Because of this, many people who are accepted will be put on a waitlist to begin their treatment. This waitlist could be a few days, a few weeks, or even a few months depending on the specific space or needs of the facility in your state.

Pros and Cons of State Funded Rehabs

No program or treatment center is perfect and every scenario has its pros and cons. Let’s break down the good and not-as-good parts of a state funded rehabs:

Pros of State Funded Rehabs


  • It is low cost and often free of charge to the individual. This is the reason many people do not seek out residential treatment. They think all programs may cost the same as private institutions or they may not even be aware that state-funded rehab exists. Well, it does and was created to offer those who need assistance a low-cost way to receive it.
  • The treatment is high quality, professional, and evidence-based. You want any healthcare whether physical or mental to be evidence-based. This means the help you are receiving is based on facts and research and has been proven to work. These state-funded programs make that a priority.
  • Community. Like many other treatment centers, you will be surrounded by people on are on the same uphill battle as you. This community is vital and has been proven to be an extremely effective part of substance abuse treatment.


Cons of State Funded Rehabs


  • The waitlist. You will often have to wait for a spot to open up unless you are an extremely high need or dire case according to the center’s criteria. This waitlist could be a couple of weeks but might possibly extend to a few months.
  • Some technology and methods may be slightly outdated because of state funding.
  • Release Time. Many people who have attended state-funded treatment centers have said they felt they were released from the program before they felt fully ready. This often occurs because the state does not have enough space for everyone. Some programs may decide to release patients as soon as they believe them to be ready. That timeline may not line up with how ready the patient actually feels.


Which is better? Are state funded rehabs actually better?

The answer to this is: whatever program you have access to and can afford is the better option for you. You may not be able to afford a private institution with the latest technology, and luxury rehab may not even be the best option. Therefore, whatever option you have access to is what is better for you. State funds rehabs may not have all the bells and whistles that many private institutions boast about having, but they provide a low-cost care that many people would not be able to access without the free or low price tag.

References: State Funded Rehabs

  1. Avants SK, Margolin A, Sindelar JL, Rounsaville BJ, Schottenfeld R, Stine S, et al. Day treatment versus enhanced standard methadone services for opioid-dependent patients: A comparison of clinical efficacy and cost. American Journal of Psychiatry. 1999;156:27–33. [PubMed] []
  2. Cartwright WS. Cost-benefit analysis of drug treatment services: Review of the literature. The Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics. 2000;3:11–26. [PubMed] []
  3. Duffy SQ, Dunlap LJ, Feder M, Zarkin GA. Council CL, editor. Health services utilization by individuals with substance abuse and mental disorders. Rockville, MD: Office of Applied Studies, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; 2004. A hybrid cost function for outpatient nonmethadone substance abuse treatment facilities. pp. 133–153. (DHHS Publication No. SMA 04-3949, Analytic Series A-25)
  4. Fleming MF, Mundt MP, French MT, Manwell LB, Stauffacher EA, Lawton Barry K. Benefit-cost analysis of brief physician advice with problem drinkers in primary care settings. Medical Care. 2000;38(1):7–18. [PubMed] []
  5. McCollister KE, French MT, Prendergast M, Wexler H, Sacks S, Hall E. Is in-prison treatment enough? A cost-effectiveness analysis of prison-based treatment and aftercare services for substance-abusing offenders. Law and Policy. 2003b;25:63–82. []
  6. Montenegro A. On sample size and precision in ordinary least squares. Journal of Applied Statistics. 2001;28:603–605. []
  7. Roebuck MC, French MT, McLellan AT. DATStats: Summary results from 85 completed drug abuse treatment cost analysis programs (DATCAPs) Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. 2003;25:51–57. [PubMed] []
State Funded Rehabs
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State Funded Rehabs
Each state-rehab center often has its own criteria and own method of prioritizing who receives access in what order. This means that they often take the most serious cases, such as pregnant women, or those with multiple physical or mental conditions outside of substance abuse. Each state rehab center accepts and denies patients based on their own specific criteria.
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