Choosing Which Treatment Option is Right for You or Your Loved One
Each of the various treatment modalities described in our Understanding Addiction Services page comes with its own benefits and costs. The appropriateness of each for individuals seeking treatment can vary greatly based on a number of factors including drug(s) of choice, drug use and treatment history and the individual’s readiness for treatment, as well as his or her mental and physical health status. For this reason it is critical that the need for individuals seeking treatment to be triaged by qualified health professionals to determine and assess the most appropriate level of care.
Payment for Services
Substance abuse treatment services are paid for by insurance, self-pay by the patient or free care. Different services accept different forms of payment and patients should verify what is accepted at the time of service. Many of the services in Boston are subsidized with city, state and/or federal funds.
What to Expect When Accessing Services
The first step in accessing treatment services is usually an assessment. You or your loved one will be asked to provide a detailed history and much of this information will be used to develop a treatment plan. In addition to assessing substance use, several treatment options also require medical clearance, which requires an additional assessment to be sure that any possible acute medical conditions are addressed before going to detox or starting a methadone program, for example. In some instances, the assessments are at different locations and the time between intake assessment and starting treatment may take several days. It is also common for treatment plans to change or be modified over the course of treatment as providers and patients jointly or individually see fit.
While a holistic treatment plan will include some level of involvement from family and loved ones, it is important to remember that substance abuse treatment, like all other forms of health care, is subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This means that patient information is only available to people that the patient her/himself authorizes, unless the patient is a minor and the requestor of the information is his or her legal guardian.
All substance abuse treatment services should have clearly posted grievance procedures available. In this absence, please contact the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Substance Abuse HelpLine: 1-800-327-5050.
Available Resources and Supports
BPHC Resource and Referral Center
774 Albany Street, Boston, MA 02118
The Boston Public Health Commission’s Resource and Referral Center works with individuals and their families to help them better understand and choose from the range of treatment services available to them. It provides walk-in substance abuse triage and level of care assessment including referrals to the City’s outpatient counseling, acupuncture and opioid treatment services, as well as detoxification and residential programs provided by other agencies in Boston. As described below in Efforts to Improve Access to Care in Boston, plans are underway to expand this service in order to make it a one-stop shop for anyone seeking access to information or services related to substance abuse in .
To access this service, please call or walk-in between the hours of 7AM and 3PM Monday through Friday.
Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Substance Abuse HelpLine
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) offers web- and phone- based services to assist individuals seeking treatment for themselves and/or their loved ones.
Program Directory On-line
MDPH’s Substance Abuse Program Directory is available online at:
It allows individuals to search for licensed treatment programs throughout Boston by geographic location, treatment modality, population served and other search parameters.
The department also offers a 24-hour hotline (800-327-5050) to help connect individuals to a variety of substance abuse-related treatment and services.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Facility Locator
SAMHSA offers a web-based national treatment locator. SAMHSA endeavors to keep the Locator current. All information in the Locator is completely updated each year, based on facility responses to SAMHSA's National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services. New facilities are added monthly. Updates to facility names, addresses, telephone numbers and services are made weekly, if facilities inform SAMHSA of changes. This Locator is available at: http://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/
Other Resources and Supports
For individuals seeking access to self help programs such as NA, AA and/or Al-Anon, these programs also offer hotlines with more information about meeting schedules, locations and other information about how to access their programs:
Narcotics Anonymous 866-624-3578
Alcoholics Anonymous 617-426-9444
Al-Anon Family Groups 508-366-0556
Learn 2 Cope http://www.learn2cope.org/
Grief Support After a Substance Passing (GRASP) http://www.grasphelp.org/grasp_chapters.htm
Other Issues to Consider When Choosing a Treatment Program
When considering treatment options for yourself or a loved one, it is important to understand that no single treatment is the right treatment for all individuals and that recovery is a lifelong process, and for many relapse is part of the process. Many individuals will try a variety of treatment options before finding the one that is right for them. There are many paths to recovery.