Addiction Treatment Expanding in the States

Officials and treatment centers take action


Every once in a while there’s some good news about treatment options for people suffering from addiction: their treatment options are expanded. At the beginning of August, Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick signed legislation that will require “health insurers to cover up to two weeks of inpatient treatment for people battling drug addiction,” in response to the state’s “soaring rates of opioid drug abuse.”

If addicts can detox and start treatment, we can hope they will continue. At least it gives them more time to find funding options for further treatment because two weeks is a drop in the bucket. I imagine that was the purpose—to have someone start. The governor also said that the law “puts Massachusetts on the leading edge of access to addiction treatment and recovery services” and that "Those battling the effects of addiction should never face barriers to treatment."  (I posted about barriers to treatment on the Brentwood House blog in April 2014.)

The good news went further, however. Patrick also called a meeting with four governors from the northeast to find ways for the states to “work together on fighting addiction.”

Sometimes you have to look for pockets of hope. A couple of months ago, my local paper reported that Daytop, a treatment facility in southern Jersey was expanding. I believe there are not a lot of treatment options in my neck of the woods, but this article said that teens can enter residential treatment immediately but adults often have to wait nine to 12 months. I assume that’s for this center only.

Imagine this:

About 500 teens go through Daytop's programs each year across the state. Virtually all of the teens in the Pittsgrove (NJ) facility come from the seven southern counties. When insurance runs out, the facility uses state grants or private funds to keep patients in treatment as long as they need it.”

I liked this article because it told two stories. First, NJ Governor Christie (love him or hate him) told of losing a law school classmate addicted to Percocet. Christie tried to help him, but the man was unsuccessful after 12 trips to rehab. He was found dead, although the article didn’t say whether it was suicide or an accidental overdose. He was found in a motel room with an empty Percocet container and an empty quart of vodka. The second story involved a troubled teen who finally got sober after attending Daytop. His father said he had anxiety from a young age and started taking drugs in eighth grade. Soon he was shooting up between his toes so that his parents wouldn’t know. It was only when he had to face going to jail that he agreed to enter rehab.

This part reminds me of the tragic stories we have heard from from many mothers:

“Indeed, it seems most parents seek help after their children are already young adults and deep into their addictions, explained Kass Foster and Susan Buonomo, founding members of the group Parent-to-Parent. Both women lost sons to addiction and have sought to help other families fighting addiction.”

Although addiction treatment is expanding, it can still be difficult for those who are desperately trying to find treatment for someone in the throes of addiction. This is a step in the right direction, but there's still plenty of room for improvement.




Drug Treatment for Addicts with Limited Money, Medicare

For many people, finding the right treatment program is not always easy. Not only do program offerings vary, but programs can be costly.  Some centers are strictly private pay and over many people’s budget. Or if programs do take insurance, they don’t take your insurance. Maybe you don’t even have insurance. outreach services2.jpg

If you’re a family member looking for treatment for a loved one, the search can seem overwhelming.  Entering “Addiction treatment” or “Treatment center” and the name of your state into an internet search engine turns up numerous choices. What do you do?

Consider a web-based company that refers you to centers according to your specific needs and ability to pay. Drug and Alcohol Rehab Services ( in California is one such site.


Founder Debra Norton calls her nationwide referral service a “1-stop shop” that helps people find treatment programs in line with their budget. She started the website to “offer direction to people so they weren’t having to call 1,000 phone numbers and end up with only high-end services.” Indeed, Norton provided a wealth of information when I interviewed her recently.

For example, there are a number of centers that accept insurance. She explained that some accept Medicare, the federal insurance program for those 65 and older and others who are disabled. Similarly, she said, some accept TRICARE, the insurance program for military personnel and veterans.outreach services.jpg

Financing is another option if you have decent credit, Norton said. She knows of treatment programs that work with finance companies to help clients, and she has heard of payments as low as $200 per month.  “Maybe you’ve asked for help and your father has said he will help pay,” she said. Financing may be especially helpful in that case.  Norton takes the time to talk to those seeking treatment.

There are also sliding-fee programs. But one of the first questions Norton asks is whether you’re willing and able to travel, because not all programs exist in every state. In addition, you may be placed on a waiting list for some state-funded programs.

Norton suggests going to, which will bring you to SAMHSA, a government site on which you can find various facilities. However, be careful when looking for referral sites, Norton advises. Some sites portray themselves as such (“Find Treatment Now”), but are actually treatment centers and may refer you to their three facilities, for example.

You can contact Norton at 800-515-3277, or by filling out the form on the DARS site. Her other is site is Outreach Services (, 866-418-1397), which includes quite a bit of information on addiction.