What to Expect When You Call a Drug Hotline for Help

Thousands of people owe their lives to the caring people who staff the phones at drug hotlines. However, thousands more may need to pick up the phone to ask for help, but are still holding back. A drug addiction hotline exists for one reason, and one reason only: to help people struggling with drugs to get the help and support they need. One common reason people fail to make that call is because they are not sure what to expect when their call is answered. This is a normal and natural anxiety. If you have been contemplating calling a drug hotline for help or you are trying to persuade a loved one to make that call, read on for what you can expect.


Someone Who Listens

When you pick up the phone to call a drug hotline, you’ll have a kind listening ear on the end. Maybe you don’t have anyone else you can talk to or maybe you are not willing to talk to your loved ones yet. However, you can talk freely and safely when you call a drug hotline. You can ask questions, share your fears and use the person on the other end as a sounding board about different treatment approaches you are considering.


Information and Education About Drug Use

Drug hotlines provide callers with information and education about signs, symptoms and short/long-term effects of drug use. If you have not received education in the past about how drugs or alcohol can affect you physically, mentally and emotionally, your hotline representative can give you information about any type of drug you or a loved one may be taking.


Information About How to Help a Loved One

Often parents, partners and loved ones know little or nothing about drug treatment options when a problem is first suspected. A drug treatment hotline, then, can serve as an invaluable resource. If you are not sure how to help a loved one or what your options are, your call can provide you with enough information to create a plan of action to approach your loved one and get them help and support. If you are not sure if you or someone you love has a problem with drugs or alcohol, you can talk to the hotline representative about this, too.


Referrals to Drug Treatment Programs and/or Community Resources

Once you are sure that you or someone you love is struggling with drugs, the next logical step is to gather information about what types of drug treatment programs and community resources are available. You may want to learn about local resources or resources in other parts of the country. If you are calling because you or a loved one has already been to treatment but needs aftercare support, you can also find out what types of local resources — such as therapists, support groups and meetings — are available.


A Free Benefits Check for Insurance

Depending on how the hotline is set up, you can get a free benefits check to see what your insurance covers in terms of paying for drug treatment or support services (or both). You can also get advice about what questions to ask your insurance provider to determine coverage.


Information on Prevention

Finally, a very important service drug hotlines can provide is educating callers about preventing drug use — for the first time or again in the future. From plugging in to community resources to embarking on a program of proactive family and community education, there are many strategies for drug use prevention. Your hotline representative can tell you more and guide you to local resources that may be of further assistance.


With this outline of what to expect when you call a drug hotline, feel confident that you will get the necessary help and support for you or for a loved one.

About the Author: Contributing writer Felicia Adams works for RehabHotline.org. She listens to callers each day, providing information and referring them to drug treatment programs across the country.

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