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Addiction Hotlines

Addiction Hotlines

Addiction helplines can be a lifeline for people who don’t know where to get the assistance they need. Whether they are addicted to drugs and alcohol, or want to help someone who is, these hotlines can provide the support and information necessary to get someone on the path to living a clean and sober lifestyle. This page provides information on addiction hotlines, including what people can expect to talk about when they call, what kind of help is provided, what kind of professionals work for these hotlines, and where to find help.

When to Call a Drug or Alcohol Abuse Hotline

There are different circumstances when people call an addiction hotline. Some of the callers are the friends and family members of someone who is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, and they’re calling to find out what they can do to help their loved one. In other cases, people with an addiction will call a helpline to find out how they can get treatment.

Is an Addiction Hotline Anonymous?

When people call an addiction hotline, the conversation is confidential. However, if the person poses a threat to themselves or others, the professional on the phone may share their information in order to get them help.

  • Will the conversation be recorded?

    Generally not, but if for some reason the conversation has to be recorded, the person on the line will disclose that at the beginning of the call.

  • Do I have to give the person I speak to my real name?

    No. People who don’t feel comfortable using their real name don’t have to. If they do use their real name, their information will be confidential.

Types of Addiction Helplines

People who need help may not know where to find it. Below is a list of some of the addiction hotlines that people who need treatment, or their family members, can call to get assistance. These helplines may be for people in crisis who need care immediately, or those who need information on where to find help. The following list includes helplines for a variety of situations.

The National Poison Control Center

This line provides expert advice about suspected poisonings, including those that involve drugs and alcohol.

Contact Us:
(800) 222-1222
Contact Us:
(800) 222-1222

This line provides expert advice about suspected poisonings, including those that involve drugs and alcohol.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Provides emotional support for callers experiencing distress or are at risk of trying to commit suicide. Loved ones of people at risk of suicide can also use this line.

Contact Us:
(800) 273-8255
Contact Us:
(800) 273-8255

Provides emotional support for callers experiencing distress or are at risk of trying to commit suicide. Loved ones of people at risk of suicide can also use this line.

Veteran's Crisis Line

Gives veterans in crisis the help they need, including referrals to resources from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Contact Us:
(800)273-8255
Contact Us:
(800)273-8255

Gives veterans in crisis the help they need, including referrals to resources from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Lifeline Crisis Chat

This chat line allows people to get help from a crisis counselor on the Internet. Helps people who are thinking about suicide or need to talk about serious problems like family, relationship, or financial issues.

Contact Us:
www.contact-usa.org/chat.html

This chat line allows people to get help from a crisis counselor on the Internet. Helps people who are thinking about suicide or need to talk about serious problems like family, relationship, or financial issues.

Crisis Text Line

Allows people to speak to a crisis counselor via text.

Contact Us:
Text HOME to 741741
Contact Us:
Text HOME to 741741

Allows people to speak to a crisis counselor via text.

Beyond Addiction: Other Important Hotlines

Addiction often comes with a number of other serious issues that people may need help with. In addition to calling addiction helplines, people seeking help may want to consult with other professionals to get assistance. The following are some of the other important helplines that people may need to call.

Eating Disorders Helpline

Provides support for people with eating disorders, as well as loved ones who are concerned that a family member has an eating disorder.

Contact Us
(630) 577-1130
Contact Us
(630) 577-1130

Provides support for people with eating disorders, as well as loved ones who are concerned that a family member has an eating disorder.

National Alliance on Mental Illness Helpline

Provides information to callers about mental health issues, including symptoms of mental illness, treatment options, and local support groups.

Contact Us
(800) 950-6264
Contact Us
(800) 950-6264

Provides information to callers about mental health issues, including symptoms of mental illness, treatment options, and local support groups.

Covenant House Nineline

Organization helps homeless children.

Contact Us
(800) 999-9999
Contact Us
(800) 999-9999

Organization helps homeless children.

National Runaway Safeline

Helps people under 21 who have run away from home find the resources they need.

Contact Us
(800) 786-2929
Contact Us
(800) 786-2929

Helps people under 21 who have run away from home find the resources they need.

National Domestic Violence Hotline

Offers resources and information to people who are victims of domestic violence.

Contact Us
(800) 799-7233
Contact Us
(800) 799-7233

Offers resources and information to people who are victims of domestic violence.

Rape, Sexual Assault, Abuse, and Incest National Network

Helps people who have been sexually assaulted.

Contact Us
(800) 656-4673
Contact Us
(800) 656-4673

Helps people who have been sexually assaulted.

Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline

Professionals provide crisis intervention, referrals, and support resources to help children who are being abused.

Contact Us
(800) 422-4453
Contact Us
(800) 422-4453

Professionals provide crisis intervention, referrals, and support resources to help children who are being abused.

National AIDS Hotline

Helps people with HIV and AIDS.

Contact Us
800-342-2437
Contact Us
800-342-2437

Helps people with HIV and AIDS.

Sex Addicts Anonymous

This organization refers people to support groups for sex addiction.

Contact Us
(800) 477-8191
Contact Us
(800) 477-8191

This organization refers people to support groups for sex addiction.

Compulsive Gambling Hotline

Help for people who have an addiction to gambling.

Contact Us
(410) 332-0402
Contact Us
(410) 332-0402

Help for people who have an addiction to gambling.

S.A.F.E. (Self-Abuse Finally Ends)

Provides help for people who engage in cutting and other self-injurious behavior.

Contact Us
(800) 366-8288
Contact Us
(800) 366-8288

Provides help for people who engage in cutting and other self-injurious behavior.

What to Expect from an Addiction Hotline

People who have never called an addiction hotline may be nervous because they don’t know what will be waiting for them on the other side of the phone. The following are some frequently asked questions about addiction hotlines and what people can expect when they call them.

  • Who should call addiction hotlines?

    Anyone who is struggling with drug or alcohol abuse should call addiction hotlines to find out what their options are for getting help. Also, the loved ones of someone with an addiction can call to get advice on how to get help for that person.

  • When should I call an addiction hotline?

    People should call a hotline whenever they feel comfortable enough to make the call. There is no right or wrong time because these lines are generally available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

  • When should I not call an addiction helpline?

    People who are having an emergency should call 911. For example, if someone is having a drug overdose, or another type of life-threatening problem, they should call 911 instead of an addiction hotline.

  • Will I get a busy signal?

    No. These hotlines are usually fully staffed, so someone is available to take calls at any time. However, if someone calls at a time when it’s especially busy, they may be put on hold—though hotlines work to ensure that callers in the queue are helped as soon as possible.

  • Do I have to pay to call an addiction hotline?

    No, people are not charged for calling addiction hotlines.

  • Who will I speak to when I call?

    The people who answer the phones for addiction hotlines are paid staff members or volunteers who have been trained to provide counseling services to callers. When people call a helpline, they will speak to someone who is knowledgeable, kind, polite, and empathetic.

  • What will I be asked when I call an addiction hotline?

    The people who work at addiction hotlines need certain information to determine what kind of help the callers need. In order to do this, they may ask questions about the person’s age; what type of drugs are being used, how often they are using them, and for how long they have been using them; if the person has other problems in addition to the addiction, like a mental illness or an eating disorder; and if the person is ready to start treatment. Also, callers may be asked about whether or not they have insurance or are able to pay for treatment out of pocket. The answers to these questions can help hotlines give callers the correct information for their needs.

  • If I don’t want to see a counselor, can I call an addiction hotline instead?

    Addiction hotlines are helpful, but they’re not meant to be a substitute for working with a counselor. While hotline workers can provide support to callers, they will refer them to the appropriate services so people can get the care they need.

How to Get the Most from a Drug or Alcohol Abuse Hotline

Calling an addiction hotline can be extremely helpful, but only if callers work with the professionals on the line. The following tips can help people get the most out of calling an addiction helpline.

In order to give callers the help they need, people who work at addiction helplines will ask a lot of questions. To receive that help, callers should be as open and honest as possible when answering them.

Getting into treatment is a process, so callers will have a lot of questions about what happens during this process. Although they may feel apprehensive, they should not be too embarrassed to ask for the information they need. Some of the questions callers can ask include the following:

  • How much does treatment cost?
  • Will my insurance cover the cost?
  • What if I can’t afford rehab?
  • Can I get treatment close to my home, or do I have to travel to another town?
  • How long does treatment last?
  • What happens during rehab?
  • What kind of therapy will I receive?
  • Will I be given medication while I’m in rehab?
  • What kind of medication will I receive?
  • Should I go to an inpatient or outpatient rehab program?
  • What is detox? Will I need it?
  • I also have depression. Can I get treatment for that while I’m in rehab?
  • Are there support groups in rehab that I can attend?
  • What kind of activities will there be in rehab?
  • Will my family be able to visit me in rehab?
  • What happens after I’m released from rehab?
  • Are there services available to help me after I complete rehab?
  • Should I go to a twelve-step program after I leave rehab?
  • What should I do if I relapse?
  • What are the next steps after this conversation?

People who are calling an addiction hotline to get advice for a loved one can tailor these questions to their situation. Also, they may want to ask the following:

  • How do I know if my loved one has an addiction? What are the signs?
  • How can I convince my loved one to go to rehab?
  • What should I do if the conversation becomes confrontational?
  • Should I organize an intervention?
  • How can I find a professional to help me with an intervention?
  • What do I do if my loved one refuses to get treatment?
  • Does rehab have support for family members? What resources are available for family members?
  • Can I visit my loved one in rehab? How often can I come?
  • What should I do if my loved one overdoses?

It’s not easy to talk about an addiction and sometimes callers may feel uncomfortable when discussing their problem and how to get help. However, this is not an excuse to be abusive to the person on the other end of the phone. It’s good to be open and honest, but callers should not have a bad attitude and get angry if the counselor says something that’s difficult for them to hear.

Counselors at addiction hotlines are there to help, but ultimately callers are responsible for their own sobriety. Helplines are not there to solve callers’ problems and do the hard work for them.