Free Drug Rehab Options in California: State-Funded, Medicare, and More

Poverty rates in California are the highest in the United States, the Sacramento Bee publishes, with 19 percent of Californians — representing 7 million people — living below the federal poverty line (FPL). Just over 7 percent of California residents are without health insurance.

There are nearly 2,000 licensed treatment centers for drug abuse and addiction in the state of California, per the Orange County Register. Many of them provide options for people who do not have insurance or otherwise may not be able to afford treatment services.

Free drug rehab options are often funded through federal or state grants, or they are nonprofit organizations. There are also many drug rehab facilities that accept Medicare and Medicaid and/or traditional insurance providers. Drug abuse and addiction treatment providers may provide services on a sliding-scale as well, which means they will take into account a person’s finances and ability to pay, and then charge rates that are manageable for the individual.

There are many options for free and low-cost drug rehab in California for eligible residents.

Further Reading

rehab group working together

In-State Free and Low-Cost Drug Rehab Resources

Residents of California who have limited financial resources, no insurance, or are supported through the California Medicaid program, Medi-Cal, can utilize specific resources when seeking drug rehab in the state.

State and federal options

• County Mental Health Departments: This is a directory of contact information for local county mental health departments that provide public treatment services managed through the state.
• California Department of Public Health: This is a directory of local health services and offices providing public health care to Californians.
• Substance Use Disorder County Access Lines: This page offers contact information for substance use disorder treatment services in each county.
• Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator: Operated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), it can provide options on federally accepted local treatment providers based on zip code.

Medicare and Medicaid facilities

• Whole Person Care (WPC) pilot sites: Under a Medicaid waiver, beneficiaries of Medi-Cal can receive care, including behavioral health services, at one of 25 WPC facilities in California.
• Medi-Cal Member and Provider Helpline: This helpline provides information on how to apply and enroll in Medi-Cal and how to find a local provider.
• California Health Advocates: This nonprofit organization helps California residents navigate and use Medi-Cal for treatment services.

Nonprofit and low-cost options

• California Health Care Foundation (CHCF): This group helps individuals, particularly low-income California residents, obtain necessary health care services.
• Salvation Army Golden State Division: These treatment services are provided for Central Coast, San Francisco, and Central Valley residents.
• Salvation Army California South Division: This organization supports substance abuse treatment in Southern California.
• SHIELDS for Families: This group offers treatment resources for residents of southern Los Angeles and the surrounding community.
• California Hispanic Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (CHCADA): This group provides outpatient drug rehab services for Hispanic California residents

road to recovery



Navigating Drug Rehab Options in California

Drug abuse treatment falls in to two main categories: private and public. Private treatment options are often self-pay, although many accept insurance as a method of payment for at least some services.

Public drug abuse treatment options in California are open to any resident who needs services and provided by community-based and state-managed agencies who often receive funding from federal or state grants. These services are often based on priority order, meaning that people who are considered to have the most need are often served first. Pregnant women, injection drug users, and people in immediate crisis are often given priority in state-funded and public drug rehab programs.

In California, public drug treatment services are overseen by the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) and the California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS) and then through each county’s mental health department. Individual counties are responsible for overseeing care for their residents.

To obtain treatment, the first step is to contact your local county mental health department; they can then direct you to a community-based provider that provides the services. Public treatment services in the state of California are provided on an as-needed basis, and payment is often set according to what families and individuals are able to manage. For example, public treatment services may be provided for free or very low cost for individuals with demonstrated financial difficulties, who fall below the FPL, and have no insurance.
Beneficiaries of Medi-Cal and private health insurance can often use these options to pay for treatment services. The Department of Managed Health Care aids California residents with the Medi-Cal application process, enrollment, and how to find a local in-network treatment provider.

A pilot program in California striving to provide a full continuum of care for all residents who would benefit from drug abuse and addiction treatment services based on evidence-based treatment methods, the Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System (DM ODS) hopes to expand treatment services and drug rehab options for beneficiaries of Medi-Cal. The Whole Person Care pilot program aims to enhance the coordinated care efforts in California, helping to provide a higher standard of care for individuals who may not have been able to afford it before. The California Health Care Foundation (CHCF) reports that over 10 million Californians are enrolled in Medi-Cal managed care, making Medi-Cal the largest health insurance provider in the state.
Drug abuse and addiction treatment services can be provided through both inpatient and outpatient programs. A wide range of options may be offered, including case management, individual and group therapy, detox services, medication management, treatment for co-occurring disorders, court-mandated requirements, educational programming, life skills training, support group meetings, transitional services, and aftercare support. Drug rehab will not look the same for each person, as care is individual.

There are many options for free and low-cost drug rehab in California. Drug abuse treatment can strengthen communities by enhancing overall wellness of residents. If you need help in California, reach out for that assistance today.

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