Substance Abuse Hotline Guide

If you think you may have a substance abuse problem or you know someone who you suspect may be addicted, you might not know where to turn. Alcohol and drug hotlines are useful resources for anyone affected by addiction directly or indirectly. A hotline can provide helpful information about addiction and rehabilitation and direct you to professional treatment programs.

Here you’ll find:

  • Information on how hotlines operate and who can benefit.
  • Signs and symptoms of addiction.
  • Treatment options, including inpatient, outpatient, residential, partial hospitalization, and more.
  • Contact information for free hotlines.

Please be aware that hotlines provide information and referrals; they are trusted resources but they are not designed to provide emergency care. If you or your loved one are experiencing a crisis or a medically or mentally dangerous situation, call 911 right away.

Purpose of a Drug and Alcohol Addiction Hotline

Woman making a phone call to addiction hotline for help

Unfortunately, many people who need addiction treatment don’t receive it. In 2015, there were about 19.3 million people aged 12 or older who needed help for addiction but did not receive specialized treatment.1  

Without treatment, the cycle of addiction is likely to continue, and it is not only the addicted person who suffers. Addiction takes a heavy toll on everyone in the user’s life. Anyone impacted by addiction can suffer from its repercussions, which can include physical, psychological, social, and financial problems, stress, relationship issues, and compromised well-being, among other problems.

Unfortunately, many people whose lives have been upended by addiction are unaware of the resources available to them. Calling a hotline can be a positive first step toward seeking treatment or obtaining information for you or your loved one.

Hotlines are anonymous and confidential, which means that you do not have to provide any personal information unless you choose to do so.

When you call a hotline, you’re connected with a trusted advisor who can answer any questions you may have about addiction and treatment. They can offer information about the recovery process and provide you with referrals to trusted rehabilitation facilities.

When to Call an Addiction Recovery Hotline

If you or someone you love is affected by addiction, a hotline can be a good place to obtain information to help you (or your loved one) take the first step toward recovery. Calling a hotline can be helpful even if you aren’t sure whether you or your loved one has a substance abuse problem. However, it can be beneficial to learn about the signs and symptoms of addiction, which include:2

  • Drinking much more or taking more drugs than you meant to.
  • Wanting to stop and trying to do so without success.
  • Spending a lot of time getting drugs or alcohol, getting intoxicated, and recovering.
  • Experiencing strong urges or cravings for one or more substances.
  • Continuing to use substances despite social problems made worse by use.
  • Continuing to use substances when you know it’s getting in the way of fulfilling professional, educational, or domestic obligations.
  • Giving up or cutting down on hobbies or other important activities because of substance use.
  • Using the substance in situations where it is dangerous to do so (such as driving or operating machinery).
  • Continued substance use knowing that it has caused or worsened a health problem (mental or physical).
  • Tolerance, or needing higher doses to achieve the desired effect.
  • Withdrawal, or experiencing discomfort when cutting back or stopping.

If you’re struggling with symptoms like the above, or you know someone who is, it may be time to look into treatment options. You can do that by calling a hotline or by looking into programs yourself. Below you’ll find information about Laguna’s programs, as well as information about free hotlines you can call.

Laguna Treatment Center Rehab Options

Recovering woman on beach enjoying sober life after addiction treatmentLaguna Treatment Center in California offers a wide range of treatment options that are designed to provide top-quality care that suits your specific needs. Some of the treatment types offered include:3

  • Hospital-based medical detoxification. Laguna’s detox hospital is fully integrated with its residential treatment facility to provide a full continuum of care. Detox is often the first step toward recovery. You receive 24/7 care, monitoring, and support while you withdraw from any and all substances on which you’re dependent. Medications may be given to keep you safe and comfortable during the process, and maintenance medications, such as Suboxone for opioid addictions, are continued during treatment and post-discharge.
  • Dual diagnosis. People who struggle with an addiction and a co-occurring mental health condition, such as depression or bipolar disorder, are said to have a dual diagnosis. This requires a specialized treatment approach to address the needs of both conditions. Upon admission to Laguna Hospital, you will consult with the medical director and lead psychiatrist to formulate a custom-tailored treatment plan based on your specific needs.
  • Inpatient/residential. Our hotel-like inpatient rehab facility in Orange County, CA helps ensure that your residential stay is comfortable and calm so you can focus on your recovery. You receive individual and group therapy, attend doctor’s appointments and 12-step meetings, and participate in supplemental therapies such as yoga, music, art, and outdoor excursions.
  • Partial hospitalization (PHP). After you complete inpatient treatment, or if you do not require 24/7 monitoring, you can opt to participate in the partial hospitalization program (PHP), which is an outpatient program involving many hours of therapy per day. This is the highest intensity form of outpatient care. You live at home but attend treatment 6 days a week for 5 hours per day.
  • Intensive outpatient (IOP). This program is a step down in intensity from the PHP program. You live at home but attend fewer hours of treatment during the week. This is the lowest level of care in terms of intensity and frequency; you live at home but attend treatment 1 to 2 times per week. It is often used as a step down from IOP or PHP, or as a form of treatment for those who do not require a higher level of care.

Laguna Treatment Center believes so strongly in its treatment programs and its ability to help people struggling with addiction that it offers a 90-Day Brand Promise. This means we guarantee that you’ll stay clean and sober if you complete our 90-day program, or you can return for a complimentary 30 days of treatment. To qualify under the terms of this offer, you must successfully complete 90 consecutive days of treatment as prescribed by counselors and staff at a facility owned and operated by American Addiction Centers, Inc., commencing on or after September 1, 2012. Terms and conditions apply.

Free Recovery Hotline Resources

For more information about addiction or to receive referrals, you can reach out to the following hotlines/helplines.

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at 1-800-662-4357. This is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year service offering information in English and Spanish. It is available for anyone facing mental and/or substance use disorders. The hotline provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.
  • National Suicide Prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or chat with someone live 24/7. The lifeline provides 24/7 free and confidential support for people in distress, focuses on suicide prevention, and offers crisis resources for you or your loved one.
  • IMAlive chatline, available by accessing the chat function located at the upper right corner on their website. This is a free, confidential, and secure online chat service designed to help people in crisis and those experiencing emotional distress. All chats are answered by trained volunteers who are certified in crisis intervention.
  • Boys Town Hotline at 1-800-448-3000. This is a national crisis and referral hotline for teens and parents that offers assistance 24/7, 365 days a year. You can also text VOICE to 20121, 7 days per week between noon and midnight CST.
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950- 6264 or by emailing This is a free, nationwide peer-support service providing information, resource referrals, and support to people living with mental health conditions, their family members and caregivers, mental health providers, and the public. Helpline staff members and volunteers are experienced, well-trained, and able to provide guidance on substance abuse and mental health issues.


  1. Lipari, R. N., Park-Lee, E., and Van Horn, S. (2016). America’s need for and receipt of substance use treatment in 2015. The CBHSQ Report: September 29, 2016. Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Media guide: the science of drug use and addiction: the basics.



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