Drug Rehab for the Poor?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I am diagnosed with BPD, Bipolar Disorder, and PTSD. I also am unemployed and have a drug problem. How come all the drug rehab centers in this country seem to only cater to those who have lots of money or great health insurance? I know so many who want help or residential treatment, but due to their financial situation, can’t get the help they so desperately need. Why?

A. There is no easy answer to your “why” question. Drug rehabilitation services can be expensive, especially private facilities. There are, however, facilities that charge a sliding scale fee or will accept individuals who do not have health insurance. In the latter case, social service workers at such facilities will often assist their clients in the acquisition of county or state health insurance programs such as Medicaid. Logistically, part of their job may be helping clients fill out the often long and complicated applications for such programs. Rehabilitation facilities have a vested interest in helping uninsured clients access programs such as Medicaid. It secures reimbursement funding for services that the agency has provided. Without that reimbursement, they likely will not be paid for their services.

I would recommend contacting local community mental health centers or your local health department. Both can provide possible referrals to drug rehabilitation facilities for the uninsured. The list of referrals may not be lengthy but they are worth investigating. This link may assist you in that process.

I understand your frustration with “the system” as it currently is. It’s not fair that many people who would greatly benefit from treatment have difficulty accessing it. That may be the unfortunate reality for some but I would encourage you to seek every possible resource and exhaustedly investigate your options.

Finally, don’t overlook Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in your recovery plans. They have helped many people reclaim their lives. I hope you are able to find the help that you are searching for. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 17 Nov 2011

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2011). Drug Rehab for the Poor?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 2, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/11/17/drug-rehab-for-the-poor/