How to get into rehab for free? [UK]

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How to get into rehab for free? [UK]  

You can get into an alcohol rehab for free in the UK through charities and local authority. The first place to check is if the National Health Service (NHS) has any information for their patients. 

It is rare for the NHS not to have at least some information on what is available for people who don't have any money to pay because these organizations offer free addiction counselling, and peer support for the people who need them.  

Recovery is not something that you can do alone. Professionals are needed to support the recovery process, and it is common for these professionals to charge quite expensive costs.  

Therefore, it can be so challenging to get the right treatment. The UK is becoming more and more of a society becoming reliant on alcohol and drugs.  

Fortunately, there are still sources for drug rehab for free! If you are struggling to get into a drug or alcohol rehab treatment for free in the UK, then you can always turn to charities and the many routes available that can help you.  

So let's look at what it entails to get into rehab for free. Keep reading! 

Facts about free addiction rehab options 

Are you thinking about quitting alcohol or drugs? If you are, then quitting is precisely what you should be doing. It's not an easy process, but it's not impossible.  

Almost £36 billion yearly is spent on treating drug or alcohol-related conditions. (1) 

Also, about one in eleven adults in the UK have a drug problem. (2)   

Clearly, many people suffer and struggle with drug or alcohol addiction, yet they can't afford treatment.  

Fortunately, there are many free addiction rehabilitation treatment programmes available. That being said, some facts are actual about these free addiction rehabs. 

After choosing the path, there are things to expect and not get you by surprise. You can have a read about them: 

You have to wait 

It is no secret that there are plenty of things to worry about when seeking out drug addiction treatment.

But one of the most common questions that people ask is, "What if the free rehab centres are all booked up?" “Is there a long queue? “or, "Can i have immediate access?" 

One of the easiest ways to answer that question is to look at the waiting lists in free rehab treatment centres. Waiting lists are invaluable for patients who are looking for sources of treatment.

They show how busy the centres are and ascertain if the patient is in luck to receive treatment any soon.  

Remember, a substance use disorder can be a devastating and life-altering condition. Still, the wait times to get into a rehab centre can be equally devastating and life-altering.  

Because it's free rehab services, nature alone attracts millions of addicts for drug treatment. yet many that need a free treatment plan may already need an immediate confidential help. 

If the patient finds a gap in their schedule that they can fill, they know that they are in luck and that the time is finally right to seek out rehab treatment. 

Generally, these services are organised by NHS. Unfortunately, government funding is limited for drug treatment and the best outcomes for all the needy.   

Something else is that the UK government cannot fund private hospitals, yet it would have relieved the other facilities. The reason for the long waiting queues. So, you can always try out community-based services if NHS isn't promising. 

What is your role? 

Your role is to be responsible. It is hard to decide whether or not to join a free rehab centre. It is easy to get caught up in the idea of instant relief from all anxiety and stress.

However, the benefits of joining a free rehab outweigh the thought of not attending one.  

Well, when you decide to join a drug and alcohol rehab, you have a part to play. You have to be your caretaker. What does this mean? You have to take full responsibility for yourself all through the treatment programme.  

You have to get in touch with a medical team on drugs and alcohol to start your initial assessment. And as your programme begins, ensure not to miss an appointment.

The ball is always in your court 24 hours a day, so there'll be little follow up unlike in a paid private rehab. After each session, you can go home and return for the next. 

Also, you'll be responsible for executing all that you'll be asked to do. You always have to put in your best because there's no free rehab options, whether inpatient, that will help you stop your addiction without your willingness and effort. 

And the last indication to show you have taken full responsibility is by admitting you have a problem with substance abuse that you can’t conquer solely. Unless you understand that it's a health problem, you are less likely to win. 

Put in your best effort. 

It would be best to put in a lot of effort and hard work when you undergo free rehab services. Any governmental service has a bunch of paperwork and interviews to ascertain whether you're eligible for the residential treatment.

Remember, if you miss any part, it'll indicate unwillingness, and you may miss on the opportunity. The addiction counsellors will view you as someone who isn't ready and fit for rehab treatment. So keep in mind to put in your best. 

What services are available? 

It's not enough to break the addiction and withdraw from the substance. You also need to make peace with your body. Free rehab centres in the UK specialize in this kind of healing.  

Prospective addicts looking for rehabilitation and free advice especially for pregnant women may be relieved to know that there are many free programmes available for them.

The programmes have a safe and supportive environment where patients advocate for themselves and where staff members and the alcohol team prioritize patient safety and recovery over profit.  

For most people, free rehab is the best option. Some centres like the American addiction centres offer inpatient detoxification, inpatient rehabilitation or residential rehab, outpatient rehabilitation, counselling, and support relapse prevention and rehabilitation.  

Some free inpatient rehabilitation offers recovery housing and inpatient detoxification. You'll live in a group home group support for swifter recovery. And addiction counsellors will provide recovery-focused programmes, such as vocational services and recovery meetings.  

Also, the recovery team will provide counselling with resources such as psychotherapy or cognitive behavioural therapy to ensure 100% drug treatment.  

Many other services are offered at a free drug rehab centre in the UK and the American addiction centres. We hope everyone decides to get help and quit active addiction and using local drug and other substance abuse.  


Free NHS outpatient services for drug and alcohol rehab 

You deserve to be in control of your life and your addiction. A great way to get help for drug and alcohol addiction is to use programmes like NHS outpatient treatment centres or check out American addiction centres.

If you need assistance, this is a great way to go as it is free services and free funding treatment where you are not necessarily required to go into the hospital. 

NHS centres are funded by taxpayers and offer outpatient rehabilitation services to those who cannot afford the price of private treatment options in England because it has not covered by your health insurance provider. 

It makes free NHS outpatient rehab services available to all adults who admit themselves to need drug and alcohol rehabilitation. Looking at their services, patients will receive an assessment performed by a team of medical professionals.

They will then devise a free treatment rehab programme that is personalized to the needs of the individual.  

There are several types of outpatient services that you can choose from. The most common is probably the therapeutic communities.

These are local support groups that meet regularly and talk about addiction. They are usually short-term programmes that last about 12 weeks.  

You can also go to the NHS outpatient clinic, which is a programme that replaces the old outpatient clinics. There are also day hospitals like outpatient clinics but are more monitored.

Finally, various alcohol treatment centres offer free NHS outpatient services. 

Unfortunately, NHS services aren't intensive and specific enough to attain all the treatment needs of an alcoholic.

Because effective treatments are done in the community here, mixing up alcoholics, and those under treatment is highly possible. 

Moreover, most of the free programmes offered are for reporting daily from 9 am to 5 pm. And since NHS focuses on improvements and not complete recovery, most people end up not fully recovered; hence possibilities of relapse are high. 

So, do you want to stop drinking entirely by joining NHS? You may have to think twice before joining these drug rehab clinics! 

Alternatives to free NHS free drug rehab 

The NHS free drug rehab is an excellent treatment option. However, there are many other substance abuse treatment options like private clinic for people looking for substance misuse support.  

An example of a free drug rehab centre is Alcoholics Anonymous. This organization does not charge its members but instead operates on the donations of members.

It does, however, offer financial assistance to those who are struggling financially so they can attend the meetings. 

UK addiction treatment group - Community-based services. 

There are various alcohol and drug addiction rehab centres around the UK. Some of those are listed under: [3] 

  1. Alcoholics Anonymous (the pioneer in the famous 12 step programme, followed widely across the American Addiction centres)  
  2. Narcotics Anonymous 
  3. Heroin Anonymous 
  4. Cocaine Anonymous 
  5. Gambler's Anonymous 
  6. Alateen (Al-Anon for teenagers). 
  7. We Are With You (formerly, Addaction)  
  8. Al-Anon Samaritans. 
  9. DAN (in Wales) 

If you are a concerned/affected family member or friend, the following are rehab centres or support services that you can avail of: 

  1. National Association for Children Of Alcoholics (NACOA) 
  1. FRANK  
  1. Scottish Families affected by Alcohol and Drugs (SFAD) 

If you have any queries about alcohol addiction or substance abuse, the following support and treatment services will offer help: 

  1. Drinkchat  
  1. Drinkline 
  1. ADAM 
  1. MIND (for mental health) 

Drug and alcohol charities in the UK 

We have gone through a lot of services, steps, and procedures. A simplistic conclusion would be that to receive proper rehabilitation treatment options, you either need good funding, health insurance coverage, or enough time to spare waiting for free drug rehab.  

 However, this is not the end of the road if you can spend neither money nor time. Several addiction treatment charities in the UK provide treatment coverage just as good as private clinics would.

They even have residential treatment programme. These services are available at absolutely no cost. You would not even have to go through any filters of assessment or interviews.  

 Such charities are funded by donations from good Samaritans or, sometimes, by the government. But the funds are not very bountiful, which is why such charities cannot accommodate as many people as they would like to.

Mentioned below are some of the many kind charities in the UK that you could contact for treatment services: [4] 

  • The Addiction Recovery Foundation Ltd 
  • Diversityincare Ltd 
  • Hillingdon Action Group for Addiction Management (HAGAM) 
  • Alcohol concern  
  • CAN- Drugs, Alcohol, and Homelessness. 

Free drug addiction support in your community. 

With no help from family or friends, drug or alcohol use can become a person's worst enemy. It is a battle that one cannot win on their own. 

Thankfully, some organizations and agencies offer help to those who need it. Most are community based to engage every patient sufficiently. 

You may find it challenging to get the best free drug rehab, but don't worry. There's a National Addiction Treatment and Rehabilitation Directory with about 700 addiction treatment organisations that'll be of help anytime.[5] 


Many of the most desperate have turned to addiction due to pain. The relief they found with drugs is worth it in most cases.

Unfortunately, alcohol and drug addictions is a vicious cycle. The worse the addiction, the worse the pain. It is a difficult journey, but there is help.  

Many supports mental health services administration offer information, financial resources, a free call back service and counselling and support groups for those suffering from addiction.  

Besides, there is a wealth of information on financing options for those suffering from drug addiction in the UK and looking for free drug rehab programmes or private clinics.

So, whether they're looking for free rehab programmes, a group, or a service, many places exist for them to turn. 

But one of the most challenging challenges for drug addicts and their loved ones is finding the right treatment programme with residential rehabilitation.  

The best is a mixture of residential and outpatient treatment care for it to be significant. And that's why free services from treatment programmes like NHS and community-based groups like Alcoholics Anonymous treatment programmes are worth a try. 

These services have a free call back service and can offer advice on personal circumstances for you to get treatment options and the help you need in just a few minutes. 

Abbeycare Pricing Bot

About the author

Laura Morris

Laura Morris is an experienced clinical practitioner and CQC Registered Manager with over twenty years experience, over ten of which have been as an Independent Nurse Prescriber.

She has held a number of senior leadership roles in the substance use and mental health sector in the NHS, the prison service and in leading social enterprises in the field.

Last Updated: March 14, 2024