If you require free treatment for drug addiction, various options are available to you – however, it will depend on your needs and severity.
In the public health service, non-residential treatment is free of charge. You can claim free addiction treatment services provided by HSE Drug and Alcohol Services or other community and voluntary projects funded by the Drug and Alcohol Task Force.
Treatment for drug addiction is also available from private service providers, like Smarmore Castle.
For information about our services and rehabilitation treatments, contact us here.
In Ireland, you can find services in your local area on drugs.ie.
When it comes to treating addiction, you have two options:
- Recovering in a residential facility
- Recovering in a non-residential setting
What will be best for you will depend on your unique condition, obligations, and assessed needs.
Your support worker or mental health professional will discuss this with you during your initial assessments.
Some treatment options available to you include:
- Addiction counselling
- Residential programmes
- Group support
If you have co-occurring mental health difficulties, support is available via your local mental health services.
Depending on your needs, you might be referred back to your GP for continuing care.
Free addiction counselling
An addiction counsellor will provide:
- An initial assessment
- A brief intervention
- CBT therapy
- Information, leaflets, and self-help material
- Onward referrals to treatment services
Therapy is either offered on a 1-1 basis or in group situations.
On top of addiction therapy, additional community care services may offer related courses.
A detox works to remove physical cravings for drugs, which is a symptom of addiction.
Within the HSE, detoxification can occur as an outpatient. But you will be required to remain under the supervision of a GP.
Most undergo detoxes as an in-patient in dedicated facilities, but you will depend on your assessed needs where your local official places.
Self-detoxification is not advisable as it is dangerous.
It is vital to remember that detox does not deal with the psychological issues presented due to your addiction.
Therefore, further support is often recommended and provided once the detoxification is complete.
HSE-funded patients can talk to their GP about suitable detoxification programmes.
HSE-funded residential programmes
- Residential treatment or “rehab” removes you from your usual environment and triggers. In-patient treatments are often in a specialist clinic or hospital.
- To acquire funding for these programmes, you will first need to speak with your GP or local addiction service about your options. From here, the doctor might make an appropriate referral for residential treatment.
Free group meetings and support groups
External anonymous groups like NA provide support to help people recover from addiction.
There are also existing support groups for family members who might be affected by the drug use too.
Is it entirely free?
The addiction services provided by HSE are public services, with outpatient services being free of charge. Reports add that there might be a charge for residential programmes.
According to Citizens Information Ireland, these fees are often on a “sliding” scale and is often not a barrier for you to access the service.
Medical cards can cover stays in selected drug facilities.
If you have health insurance, check with your insurer to see if residential treatment is covered within your plan.
Admissions for free drug treatment
You will first need to begin with your Local Health Office, which can help you find addiction services in your area.
The other best place to start is with your GP, who can refer you to local addiction services.
From this referral, you will be assessed and can discuss your treatment options.
Where to apply
- Local Health Office
- HSE (Freephone 1800 459 459 or email email@example.com
HSE vs private rehab
There are differences between the two; however, the main two vital differences appear to be accessibility and cost.
Regulatory bodies and clinicians agree and accept that residential rehab is one of the most effective forms of drug treatment.
However, financial restraints mean it is often only available to very few via the HSE.
The annual HSE report findings:
- Only 13,000 in-patient cases compared to 52,000 outpatient attendances. Source.
- Six hundred fifty thousand patients are seen virtually in acute services. Source.
- While the number of adults waiting more than six months for elective in-patient and day-case treatment continued to increase, 95% of hospitals achieved the end of year SDU target that no patient should wait more than 12 months. Source.
The NHS struggled similarly in 2019, with only 4% admitted to in-patient treatment.
In-patient treatment tends to be only offered in particular circumstances as most of the care is community-based.
The local authorities often provide faster support for those whose addiction has reached a severe stage, which means those who need help earlier can slip through the net.
Cost is another factor – whilst HSE services are broadly free, private services can be a significant investment.
Those with medical insurance can receive treatment from private facilities, and costs can be saved by choosing shared rooms or private ones.
Other differences to consider include accessibility, outcomes, cost, timescale, environment, choice, the intensity of 1-1 support and quality of care.
Here at Smarmore Castle, we’re a private residential rehab, and you can enquire about our services here.
Last updated & clinically assessed 30 March, 2022