How to Find an Addiction Treatment Provider

Molly’s Story Illustrates How Addiction Can Happen

Molly (a pseudonym) was a 25-year-old woman who developed an addiction to opioids. She was initially prescribed opioids for pain by her gynecologist. Although only a small percentage of people who use opioids become addicted to them, Molly’s story illustrates how it can happen.

Molly came to me looking for help with her addiction. Like many people, she felt a nagging sense of shame and guilt for abusing drugs. She also feared abusing opioids would make her a bad mom, but she repeatedly shoved all that away from her consciousness. She would deal with that later, she thought. For now, the drugs seemed to offer an answer.

She may never have developed a problem if she had been receiving the personal and professional care she needed. Her support community had shrunk. She was afraid to admit to the people closest to her—her husband, mother, father, grandmother, and friends—what was going on in her life. Would they understand? Would they judge her and reject her? She also feared going to the medical community for help. Her doctors were, in part, her drug suppliers; what if they cut off the flow? What if they reported her to the authorities and she went to jail, leaving her young daughter in the care of a father who had no desire or ability to be a full-time dad?

Molly constantly struggled with how to get off the prescription pill merry-go-round. Like Molly, many people often feel themselves caught in a web of pain, stress, grief, loss, depression, loneliness, and possibly addiction.

Molly wanted to stop using drugs, but she didn’t know how. On her lunch hours, she would go to a sandwich shop, open up her laptop, and eat lunch while watching YouTube videos about how to wean one’s self off pain medicine. She considered selling all of her possessions to come up with the $6,000 that one advertisement said it would cost to go to Las Vegas and undergo a rapid detox. Wisely, she decided against that. But then she did try a program of taking dietary supplements that could supposedly relieve drug addiction naturally. She found that the supplements were a waste of money.

Addiction Is a Medical Problem, Not a Moral Failing

Many people find themselves in the same situation as Molly, secretly looking for someone or something to free them of their addiction.

The shame and fear contribute to the prevalence of the disease. Too often, the result is that addiction goes untreated due to the shame and fear. Because of the potential consequences of an untreated addiction, we need to make it as easy as possible for people to receive help. When a person is ready for treatment, it is important they encounter no barriers.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 2.5 million Americans suffer from opioid use disorder. Unfortunately, it has not always been recognized as a medical problem. Instead, historically, it has been viewed as a moral failing. Until recently, most medical schools did not devote more than a few hours to teaching about the epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnoses, or treatment of most addictions.

Yet addiction is a common disease. How do you know if you have an addiction, and how do you find someone to provide help? What can you expect with treatment? How much will it cost? Where do you begin to find answers? These are common questions people like Molly struggled with.

No one is destined to be addicted, although a small percentage of the population is highly vulnerable. Some people are lucky enough to be spared the addiction genes. But most of us could find ourselves looking to drugs for relief, given a stressful or painful enough situation.

How to Find Effective Treatments for Addiction

The good news is that there are effective treatments for addiction. People who are seeking help for themselves or their family members often wonder whom they can trust and where they can turn. Here are three sources of information: The American Society of Addiction Medicine (to find a doctor who is a member, click here), American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (for a searchable partial list of its membership, click here), and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) (to locate a member, click here).


The cost of care can vary widely. Most patients with an opioid addiction can be treated successfully on an outpatient basis. Others may require more intensive treatment. For in-patient treatment options at all price points, please click here. You’ll also find other resources on that page, including lists of some of the best alcohol and drug treatment centers.

Not all treatment options are supported by science, and not all treatment centers are reputable. Molly discovered the best approach for her was to be honest about her disease and then seek help from someone who cared about her as a person. It has been more than 10 years since Molly first began treatment. Today, she is a happy mother. She is fully employed and sober.


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