Alcohol & Drug Hotline Guide

Unfortunately, there is commonly a stigma surrounding substance use disorders (SUDs) in our society. People who struggle with SUDs may experience feelings of guilt and shame and often have problems in their relationships with friends and family members. This can cause feelings of isolation or even estrangement from supportive relationships, which can make it difficult to receive the support and encouragement they need to seek treatment and recovery. For many people, calling a drug abuse hotline can provide this important assistance.

What Is a Drug Abuse Hotline?

Drug abuse hotlines provide a way for people who are using, abusing, or have an addiction to alcohol or drugs to obtain support. Calling a drug and alcohol abuse hotline can also provide information about the various options that are available to help you address substance use issues. The benefits of calling drug abuse hotlines include:

Who Is a Drug Helpline for?

Drug helplines are available to offer support and provide resources to anyone who is struggling with substance abuse or addiction. However, if you have a family member, loved one, or friend who is struggling with substance use, calling a hotline can help you as well.

Addiction affects more than just the person who is drinking or using drugs. It can cause family members, friends, and loved ones to experience strong feelings of anger, fear, frustration, guilt, shame, hopelessness, and helplessness. They may have a supportive group, but they may not feel comfortable discussing substance use with anyone outside of the family. Drug and alcohol helplines can be especially beneficial in these situations since the staff can offer support in a safe, confidential, and non-judgmental setting. They can also provide information on the best way to support your loved one without enabling them and how to ensure that you are taking care of yourself.

Who Will I Speak With When I Call an Addiction Hotline?

When you call a drug or alcohol addiction hotline operated by American Addiction Centers (AAC), you’ll be connected to an admissions team member, known as an Admissions Navigator. Compassionate and knowledgeable, AAC Admissions Navigators are trained to talk you through the things that you, a family member, a loved one, or a friend is experiencing.

AAC Admissions Navigators are team members who are available 24/7 to listen to your story, assist you in creating an action plan to follow when you’re ready and provide the support and encouragement to begin your journey to detox and rehab. They can also answer any questions that you may have about addiction and recovery.

When Should I Call an Addiction Helpline?

You may be confused about when to call an alcohol or drug addiction help hotline. If you are worried that you or a loved one may have a problem with substance use, have begun using more heavily, or are experiencing consequences related to substance use, it would be appropriate to call. Hotline counselors can offer support and guidance on getting help with all of these scenarios.

For someone who would like to get help but doesn’t know what to do, helpline staff can connect you to treatment and get you started. They can guide you through encouraging your loved one to seek treatment. They can also support you in setting healthy boundaries and practicing self-care.

Some red flags are often associated with substance use. While they don’t necessarily signal addiction, they can point to the fact that a person might have an issue with alcohol or drugs. These warning signs include:1, 2, 3

  • Changes in personality, mood, or behavior that can’t be explained by any other reason.
  • Difficulty stopping use even after it has caused problems with a person’s physical or mental health.
  • Eating or sleeping more or less than usual.
  • Experiencing paranoia with no other explanation for it.
  • Bloodshot eyes or pupils that are larger or smaller than normal.
  • Getting arrested for offenses related to substance use, such as possession, driving under the influence, theft to buy drugs, or disorderly conduct.
  • Having withdrawal symptoms when use is stopped suddenly.
  • Inability to function normally at work, school, or home.
  • Isolating from friends and family or behaving in a secretive manner.
  • Lack of attention to personal hygiene.
  • Missing days at school or work.
  • Needing to borrow money with no explanation.
  • Spending time with different friends.
  • Stumbling, slurring, or having difficulty with motor skills and coordination.
  • Taking unusual risks, such as driving under the influence.

Emergency Calls

Rehab helplines are not emergency hotlines. If you or someone you love is actively experiencing an emergency, you should call 911 and connect with local first responders. They will be able to address any emergency that you may be dealing with, including overdose, physical health emergencies, mental health emergencies, dangerous situations, and crimes. Drug and alcohol hotlines are not able to handle these types of emergencies. They are geared toward providing support, guidance, and assistance in helping you enter treatment. In case of an emergency, they will direct you to call 911.

Can I Start the Rehab Process When I Call?

You can’t start the treatment process at the time of your call but calling the AAC helpline can be the first step on your journey toward sobriety. As the largest network of SUD treatment facilities in the United States, AAC provides a full range of treatment services along with wrap-around support services for anyone who is ready to take control of their substance use.

When you call our helpline, AAC Admissions Navigators will help you get started by identifying the level of care that is most appropriate for your needs. This can help you begin the admission process, but you won’t begin formal treatment until you arrive at the facility. AAC offers a spectrum of care, including:

Free Substance Abuse Helpline Resources

Multiple substance abuse help hotlines are available, and many are tailored to the needs of special populations. These resources are free, confidential, and available 24/7. Such substance abuse helpline resources include: