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What is an Addiction Hotline?
Addiction hotlines are dedicated phone numbers people can call when they deal with addiction or their loved one struggles with addiction.
When you call a hotline, you’re connected to someone who can provide you with information about resources near you that can help. Addiction hotlines operate 24 hours a day, are anonymous, and are free to call.
The person answering the call to a hotline has the training and specialized knowledge in mental health to help them deal with people in a variety of situations related to addiction.
Some are recovering themselves, so they understand the challenges of dealing with addiction and making the first move toward recovery. Everyone answering a call to an addiction hotline provides referrals to local drug treatment centers and mental health services, as well as other types of support.
For many, calling a drug and alcohol addiction hotline is the first step toward successful recovery.
Benefits of addiction hotlines include:
- Treatment referrals
- Addiction education
- Peer support services
- Professional operators
Who Should Call an Addiction Hotline?
Anyone dealing with a drug addiction, either their own or someone else’s, can call a drug abuse hotline. Many calls received by these services are from parents, spouses, family members, and friends of people with addiction. Hotlines provide education about substance use and information about treatment options.
Hotlines are available for a variety of addictions, including:
- Cocaine, methamphetamine, and other drugs
- Prescription drugs
If you cannot find a number for a hotline for a specific addiction, there are numbers available that deal with addiction in general.
If you’re unsure whether you should call an addiction hotline, consider the following:
- Are you afraid your use or a loved one’s use of a substance is problematic?
- Do you want to get sober?
- Has your addicted loved one expressed a desire to get sober?
- Are you searching for advice on dealing with addiction?
- Have you neglected work, school, or personal responsibilities in favor of using a substance?
- Have you noticed an increase in how much of a substance you need to take to feel the desired effects?
- Have you made risky decisions linked to your use of a substance?
- Do you experience withdrawal symptoms when you don’t use a substance?
If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, or you are unsure about your situation and you think a hotline could help, making the call is worth it.
Calling an addiction hotline requires no obligation to enter treatment or even to identify yourself.
You can call an addiction hotline, describe and ask the operator if your situation was an appropriate reason to place the call. Basically, if you’re questioning whether you should call an addiction hotline, it’s a good idea to do so.
What Happens When You Call an Addiction Hotline?
Open around-the-clock, addiction hotlines are anonymous. When you call, you’ll speak to someone trained to deal with people struggling with addiction. They’ll provide you with information and resources to help you choose your next step.
Even if you are not ready for recovery or you do not want to enter substance use treatment yet, you’ll learn more about addiction and the risks of the substance you’re using by calling a hotline.
Are Addiction Hotlines Free and Confidential?
Alcohol and drug addiction hotlines are free to call and require you to provide no identifying information. You are under no obligation to move forward with treatment or to make any type of commitment whatsoever. They are there strictly to provide support, guidance, and information.
If you contact a service that asks for identifying information or says you must seek treatment as a result of your call, chances are you are not in contact with a hotline. Most of the numbers you’ll call claiming to be addiction hotlines will not do these things. But occasionally, scam numbers are circulated to the public.
If you are uncomfortable at any time during the call, you are free to hang up and contact another number.
How to Prepare: Questions to Ask an Addiction Hotline Specialist
Addiction hotline operators frequently answer questions such as:
- How do I know I have an addiction?
- What should I know about my/a loved one’s addiction?
- How does my addiction affect my overall health?
- What are the signs of a drug overdose?
- Is treatment available for my addiction?
- Does health insurance cover addiction treatment?
- Is free treatment available?
- Is support available for loved ones of those with addiction?
Are Drug Overdose Hotlines Available? (+ When to Use Them)
Regular addiction hotlines are not designed to deal with immediate medical emergencies. If you or a loved one has overdosed or is experiencing overdose symptoms, you should contact 911 or go directly to a hospital emergency room.
Addiction hotlines are not equipped to deal with overdoses. They will refer you to 911 or connect you to emergency services if they’re equipped to do so.
Text Support Hotlines: How Do They Work?
Anyone not ready to make a phone call to an addiction hotline has the option of texting. Some treatment centers and support organizations offer personalized text support, as well as an addiction chat on their websites.
Text support is available 24/7 and requires no obligation to begin treatment after calling.
Is it Possible to Start the Rehab Process on a Call?
Yes. In some cases, the hotline connects you directly to a treatment center and patient intake begins on the phone.
But even if you call a hotline that isn’t affiliated with specific treatment facilities, acknowledging you need help with addiction and calling someone for information is the first step toward recovery.
Psychologically, rehabilitation begins when someone realizes they are struggling with an issue for which they need help.
List of Best Addiction Hotline Services
Here are the top addiction hotline services:
- Marijuana Anonymous 1-800-766-6779
- Alcohol Treatment Referral Hotline (24 hours) 1-800-252-6465
- Families Anonymous 1-800-736-9805
- Cocaine Hotline (24 hours) 1-800-262-2463
- Drug Abuse National Helpline 1-800-662-4357
- National Association for Children of Alcoholics 1-888-554-2627
- Ecstasy Addiction 1-800-468-6933
- Alcoholics for Christ 1-800-441-7877