Drug addiction: getting help
If you need treatment for drug addiction, you're entitled to NHS care in the same way as anyone else who has a health problem.
With the right help and support, it's possible for you to get drug free and stay that way.
Where to get help for drugs
Your doctor is a good place to start. They can discuss your problems with you and get you into treatment.
They may offer you treatment at the practice or refer you to your local drug service.
If you're not comfortable talking to your doctor, you can approach your local drug treatment service yourself.
Visit the Frank website to find local drug treatment services.
If you're having trouble finding the right sort of help, call the Frank drugs helpline on 0300 123 6600. They can talk you through all your options.
Charity and private drugs treatment
As well as the NHS, there are charities and private drug and alcohol treatment organisations that can help you.
Visit the Adfam website to see a list of useful organisations.
Private drug treatment can be very expensive but sometimes people get referrals through their local NHS.
Your first appointment
At your first appointment for drug treatment, staff will ask you about your drug use. They will also ask about your work, family and housing situation.
You may be asked to provide a sample of urine or saliva.
Staff will talk you through all of your treatment options and agree a treatment plan with you. They can tell you about local support groups for drug users and their families or carers.
You'll also be given a keyworker who will support you throughout your treatment.
What drug treatment involves
This depends on your personal circumstances and also what you're addicted to. Your keyworker will work with you to plan the right treatment for you.
Your treatment may include:
- Talking therapies – talking therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) , help you to see how your thoughts and feelings affect your behaviour.
- Treatment with medicines – if you are dependent on heroin or another opioid drug, you may be offered a substitute drug, such as methadone. This means you can get on with your treatment without having to worry about withdrawing or buying street drugs.
- Detoxification (detox) – this is for people who want to stop taking opioid drugs like heroin completely. It helps you to cope with the withdrawal symptoms.
- Self-help – some people find support groups like Narcotics Anonymous helpful. Your keyworker can tell you where your nearest group is.
- Reducing harm – your drugs workers will help you reduce the risks associated with your drug-taking. You may be offered testing and treatment for hepatitis or HIV, for example.
Where will you have your treatment?
You may have your treatment while living at home or as a hospital inpatient.
If your drug-related problems are severe or complicated you may be referred to a residential rehab.
For more information about residential rehab, or to find a rehab near you, visit rehabonline.
For more information about treatment for specific drugs, read:
- cocaine: get help
- heroin: get help