Seeking Treatment for Substance Use Disorder

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions you may be asked:

  • Are you calling for yourself or someone else?
  • Which type of drugs or alcohol have you been using, how much, and for how long?
  • Do you have any health conditions?
  • Do you take any prescription medications?
  • Do you have health insurance? Will you need financial assistance?

Substance use disorder is a chronic illness – a medical condition that changes your brain and affects your behavior. As with any medical condition, it is treated by trained practitioners in order to facilitate relief, recovery, and healing.

Many different professionals are involved in treatment programs. Most programs have care teams made up of counselors, social workers, doctors, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, and others. These caregivers typically have special training and licensing to provide treatment for substance use disorder. Sometimes members of your care team may even be in long-term recovery themselves.

If you are going to a residential treatment center, there are usually strict policies about what you can and cannot bring with you to treatment. Each facility will have their own rules. Ask the treatment center you plan to attend for a packing checklist and a list of prohibited items.

The cost of treatment will vary depending upon the type and length of service. There are many options for financial assistance for people who are eligible. In Pennsylvania, each county has a Single County Authority (SCA) that can connect you with resources for treatment and affording treatment based on your individual needs.

Questions you may want to ask include:


  • When can I get an appointment? (If a facility can’t see you within 48 hours, try another one. Being seen quickly is a sign of quality care. Many programs offer walk-in care, or interim care if only a waitlist is available.)


  • How much will treatment cost?
  • Do you accept my insurance?
  • Is financial assistance available?


  • What do I need to bring?
  • What do you recommend I bring to make my stay more comfortable?
  • What should I not bring?


  • How do I get to the facility?
  • Is there public transportation?
  • Can you pick me up?

Inpatient Living

  • What are the rooms like?
  • Will I have a roommate?
  • Is there a shared bathroom in each room, or how many people do I have to share a bathroom with?
  • What is meal time like?
  • What is a typical day like at your facility?

Questions that might be important for you and your situation:

  • Is the facility smoke-free or is smoking allowed?
  • Are childcare options available?
  • What types of medications am I allowed to take while in treatment?
  • What kind of family contact is allowed, and when?
  • What are your other patients like? What's the patient population?