• Information and referral

    Family members and friends of people with substance abuse may try to talk with the person about their chemical use and meet resistance. Family and friends often try to connect with the person on different levels before going to a more formal resource, such as intervention. They call on friends and associates in their immediate surroundings to get information and discuss how to help the person. They may reach out to other resources, such as a school counselor, church pastor or coach, to get help. When those options do not work, they can turn to more formal approaches to get help.

    Local social service agencies can help you get chemical dependency treatment services. If you have talked to your family member or friend about seeking treatment and they don't want to, go to for information on intervention professionals and other resources.

    Additional resources

    Other places you can contact for help include your doctor, county social services, employee assistance programs, health plans and insurance, information and referral services and treatment facilities.


    Counties have staff who know about providers in your county. Counties also offer publicly funded chemical dependency services. Counties contract with chemical dependency treatment providers to make treatment available on a sliding-fee scale. If you use one of the county providers, the cost of treatment will be reduced based on your ability to pay. For more information, call your county (PDF) or visit their county websites.

    Employee assistance programs

    If your employer has an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), it can be a good resource to help you get started. EAPs are free and offer confidential counseling and referral services to employees and their family members. They have trained professionals who can give you information and referrals to your health plan and community services. Check your employee handbook or ask human resources staff if EAP services are available to you and how to connect with them.

    Health plans and insurance

    If you have health insurance, ask your insurance company or health plan about providers and services covered by your policy. The phone number of the customer service department is on the back of your health insurance card. They can give you a list of providers covered by your health plan.

  • Family services

    Programs and services are available for family and friends of people who are chemically dependent. These programs can be formal, organized through treatment facilities, or informal community-based programs.

    Treatment providers sometimes offer family services. They are generally programs that explore relationship issues common among families and friends who live with or care about a person who is addicted to chemicals. The programs are usually based on the Al-Anon principles and strengthen an individual's skills to build healthy relationships.

    Several self-help groups also may be available in your area. Well known programs include Family Anonymous, Al-Anons and Co-Dependents Anonymous. These Twelve Step groups meet in the community, generally for an hour or more. The main focus is to support one another in developing healthy relationships.

    DHS Licensing Information Lookup, Chemical Dependency Treatment Programs, called Rule 31 programs are residential treatment and outpatient treatment centers. Their staff can answer questions and help get you connected with assessment services. If you want to contact a treatment facility to learn more about assessments and treatment,  please use the DHS Licensing Information Lookup, to find one of the Department of Human Services licensed facilities.

  • Web resources

    Find Web resources for people with substance abuse, their families and friends.

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