Michigan Association of Substance Abuse Coordinating Agencies, Inc.
2875 Northwind Drive, Suite 215
East Lansing, Michigan  48823
(517) 337-4406   fax: (517) 337-8578

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is alcohol or drug addiction?

How quickly can I become addicted to alcohol or another drug?

Who do I call for help with a substance abuse problem?

What will happen when I call?

What if I cannot pay?

What if I don’t have transportation to the treatment facility?

I am pregnant and need substance abuse treatment. Can I get help?

How does drug abuse affect the fetus?

What is detoxification, or “detox”?

What is withdrawal? How long does it last?

I have a friend who is using. How can I help them?

If our church or block club or other service organization wants to do something to prevent alcohol and drug abuse, is there assistance available?

I don’t know much about alcohol or drug abuse. Is there more information available?

I have seen people get sober or clean for a period of time, then go back to using. Is alcohol or other drug abuse a hopeless condition?


What is alcohol or drug addiction?

Alcohol or drug addiction is a complex brain disease. It is characterized by compulsive, at times uncontrollable alcohol or drug craving, seeking and use that persist even in the face of very negative consequences. Alcohol or drug seeking becomes compulsive in large part as a result of the effects of prolonged drug use on the brain functioning and, thus, on behavior. For many people, alcohol or drug use becomes chronic, with relapses possible even after long periods of abstinence.


How quickly can I become addicted to alcohol or another drug?

There is no easy answer to that question. If and how quickly one might become addicted to a substance depends on many factors, including the chemistry and biology of your body. All drugs are potentially harmful and may have life threatening consequences associated with their use. There are also vast differences among individuals in their sensitivity to alcohol or various drugs. While one person may use a drug one or many times and suffer no ill effects, another person may be particularly vulnerable and overdose on the first use. There is no way of knowing in advance how someone will react.


Who do I call for help with a substance abuse problem?

Each county or group of counties, as well as the City of Detroit, has a local Coordinating Agency responsible for substance abuse services within their jurisdictions and to assist people to get the help they need. Click on the “Service Locator” map and click on your county of residence. That will give you the name and phone number of the Coordinating Agency in your area.


What will happen when I call?

When you tell the staff person what help you need, she/he will refer you to the Assessment and Referral service to help you decide what is the best treatment service for you. Or she/he may refer you directly to one of the Coordinating Agency’s service providers. In either case, you will be connected with the help that is right for your situation.


What if I cannot pay?

Services are covered by most major health insurances, including Medicaid and Medicare. A sliding fee schedule is usually used to ensure that services are affordable and accessible to all persons and families. No one is denied services due to lack of financial resources.


What if I don’t have transportation to the treatment facility?

There are options available to make sure you can get there.


I am pregnant and need substance abuse treatment. Can I get help?

Yes. Pregnant women are a priority for treatment and generally are assessed/admitted for treatment within 36 hours of their call.


How does drug abuse affect the fetus?

Many substances including alcohol, nicotine and drugs of abuse can have negative effects on the developing fetus because they are transferred to the fetus across the placenta. For example, nicotine has been connected with premature birth and low birth weight, as has the use of cocaine. Scientific studies have shown that babies born to marijuana users were shorter, weighed less and had smaller head sizes than babies born to women who did not use the drug. Small babies are much more likely to develop health problems. Babies born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome from a mother’s use of alcohol during pregnancy exhibit healthy problems similar to babies whose mothers use other drugs during pregnancy.

Whether a baby’s health problems, when caused by alcohol or other drug, will continue as the child grows, is not always known. Research does show that babies born to mothers who use marijuana regularly during pregnancy may have trouble concentrating, even when older. Research continues to produce insights on the negative effects of alcohol or drug use on the fetus.


What is detoxification, or “detox”?

Detoxification is the process of allowing the body to rid itself of a drug while managing the symptoms of withdrawal. It is often the first step in drug treatment and should be followed by treatment with a behavior-based therapy and/or a medication, if appropriate. Detox alone, with no follow up, is not treatment and often is followed by relapse.


What is withdrawal? How long does it last?

Withdrawal is the group of symptoms that occur after use of some addictive drug is reduced or stopped. Length of withdrawal and symptoms vary with the type of drug and extent of use. For example, physical symptoms of heroin withdrawal may include: restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting and cold flashes. These physical symptoms may last for several days, but the general depression, or dysphoria (opposite of euphoria), that often accompanies withdrawal may last for weeks. In many cases, withdrawal can be easily treated with medications to ease the symptoms, but treating withdrawal is not the same as treating addiction.


I have a friend who is using. How can I help them?

Help them find someone to talk to about their use, someone they can trust. You can talk with someone you trust about your friend’s use, such as a school counselor, teacher, a clergyperson or doctor, in confidence. Or you can talk to your friend yourself, using the following guidelines: talk to them when they are sober/straight; don’t be accusatory or blame them for their problem; express your feelings of worry for them and how it makes you feel to see them drunk or high; use specific examples of their behavior when they are drunk or high; speak in a caring, understanding tone, expressing your friendship; expect to get denial or anger; have information ready on where to get help; offer to accompany them, then follow through. Your local Coordinating Agency can provide information and local contacts to help you help your friend in need.


If our church or block club or other service organization wants to do something to prevent alcohol and drug abuse, is there assistance available?

Yes, each Coordinating Agency has a Prevention Coordinator to assist community organizations and others interested in prevention. That person will know the various prevention service providers and programs in your area that may be of help to you. Just go to the “Service Locator” map, click on the county in which you reside, and you will find the name and phone number of the Coordinating Agency in your area. When you call, ask for the Prevention Coordinator.


I don’t know much about alcohol or drug abuse. Is there more information available?

Your local Coordinating Agency has a lot of information and also can direct you to those organizations that make drug abuse information available to the public. Click on the “Service Locator” map and then click on your county of residence to get the name and phone number of your Coordinating Agency.


I have seen people get sober or clean for a period of time, then go back to using. Is alcohol or other drug abuse a hopeless condition?

Not at all….treatment works! In every community, there is an army of recovering people who have healthy lives, stable families, secure jobs. They have combined treatment with a good support network and especially with faithful participation in Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. The success of these thousands of people throughout Michigan gives hope to anyone struggling with addiction or its effects on others. Your local Coordinating Agency can put you in touch with those who can help.


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