diverse group of people in the streets

Substance Use Support

Help is available if you or someone you know is addicted to drugs or another substance.

Getting help is the bravest thing you can do. Connect with 211 so you can get the resources needed for recovery:

  • Call 9-8-8 for crisis support with substance use or mental health. 
    You can also chat online in English or Spanish. Learn more about 988 in Maryland.
  • Search for substance use providers.
    The state's comprehensive substance use database, powered by 211, allows you to filter services by concern, payment type, age, language and ZIP code.
  • Text MDHope to 898211.*
    MDHope is a free and confidential texting program that connects friends, families, professionals and individuals to local opioid resources and support.Text MDHope to 898-211 and answer the prompts for the information and resources you need. That may be a treatment center, overdose reversal medication, safe disposal of drugs or prevention support.

211 can also connect you to information on:

Preventing An Overdose

If you know someone who is struggling with substance use, be aware of the warning signs of an overdose.

You can keep life-saving medication called Naloxone (Narcan) on hand to help until the person receives treatment. The medication is available in Maryland without a prescription at Maryland pharmacies and distribution points throughout the state.

If you experience someone overdosing, call 911 immediately, even if you have Naloxone.

The Maryland Good Samaritan Law protects you and the person who overdosed from certain crimes and prosecution if you are helping someone get help for an overdose.

Crisis Support

If you or someone you know needs immediate support, call or text any message to 988. You'll speak to a trained professional or chat with someone online in English or Spanish.

There are also crisis walk-in support centers throughout Maryland that can provide 24/7 care. These centers may provide immediate help and ongoing support.

If you or someone you know is in immediate need of emergency help, call 911. Otherwise, call 988 to find the behavioral health support you need.

going through medicine cabinet looking at pills

Disposing Of Old Medication

You can also prevent overdoses by throwing away old medication. When you have prescription drugs in your medicine cabinet, they’re an easy target for someone addicted to drugs.

There are free medication disposal sites throughout Maryland.

It helps prevent substance misuse and also protects the environment.

Treatment Works

For a person with substance use disorder (or “addiction,”), treatment is essential for managing the condition. With the right support, recovery is possible for everyone.

About Substance Use Disorders

People can develop a dependency on various types of substances, including nicotine, alcohol, prescription drugs or other drugs.

Over time, these substances can reset the brain’s reward system, affecting a person’s thinking, feelings and behaviors.

For example, the brain’s reward system can be quickly disrupted by misusing prescription pain medications or using other opioids such as heroin. This can lead to opioid use disorder, which can be deadly.

In Maryland, fentanyl is the leading cause of overdose deaths, according to data from the Opioid Operational Command Center.

The good news is that the brain’s reward system can be reset and restored with treatment.

While anyone can develop a substance use disorder, people who have experienced trauma or severe adversity are at greater risk.

Substance Use Recovery

An addiction is like a well-worn path in a person’s brain. Treatment works to redirect and rebuild that path. Nobody can redirect the path alone; it takes a team, and time, and the right tools.

Every recovery path is unique, and there is no timetable for how long it will take to build. But, there is hope! Recovery is possible for everyone.

Be inspired by Cecil County residents who have walked this path and are in recovery.

Keep reading to learn more about how different types of treatment for substance use disorder can help build a path to recovery.

Treatment for Substance Use Disorders

Treatment works best when it involves more than one type of support. Treatment options include:

  • counseling
  • medication
  • detoxification
  • peer support

You can find these treatment options at a hospital, inpatient treatment center, outpatient treatment, recovery residence or support group.

Medication Can Help Recovery

Medication is often an important part of an effective treatment plan for substance use disorder. A doctor prescribes a medication and dose specific to the individual’s needs. Doctors often use Suboxone (buprenorphine), Methadone or Vivitrol (Naltrexone) to help reset the brain’s reward system. These medicines can reduce cravings, withdrawal symptoms, or the effects of other drugs.

The outdated notion that medication-assisted treatment is “just trading one drug for another” is a harmful myth.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) uses prescription medications, counseling, and behavioral therapies to help people with substance use disorder redirect their behaviors, reactions to triggers, and their lives.


Detoxification is the process of removing a specific substance from the body. Detox can be an important part of treatment for people with a dependency on alcohol, opioids, or other substances.

Baltimore Crisis Response is part of the 211 call center network. They provide short-term residential detox programs that typically last 7 days. Be inspired by the success story of this 7-day detox at Baltimore Crisis Response.


Peer support group

Peer Support

Maryland Coalition of Families (MCF) works with families as part of the process of treatment and recovery.

MCF's family peer support specialists can help your family in the following ways:

  • Connect you to resources and treatment options, including workshops, training and other support groups.
  • Teach self-care and resiliency.
  • Help with setting goals and action plans.
  • Collaborate with other agencies.
  • Advocate for your family.

Mobile Treatment In Maryland

Because access to treatment shouldn’t depend on transportation, Maryland offers Mobile Treatment Units.

The Caroline County Health Department drives a Recreational Vehicle (RV) to underserved rural communities on the Eastern Shore to help individuals with opioid use disorder (OUD).

Call 2-1-1 for help finding a Mobile Treatment Unit option near you.

An App for Opioid Use Disorder

The Center for Addiction Medicine at the University of Maryland Medical Center offers many types of treatment for opioid use disorder and other substance use disorders. There is even an app that doctors can prescribe to connect patients to treatment services at home. It helps people to build new skills for coping with stress and manage their reactions to triggers.

Going Smoke-Free Supports Recovery

Treatments for substance use disorders is more effective when people get support in quitting smoking at the same time.

The Maryland Tobacco Quitline is a FREE phone, web and text messaging service available to Maryland residents over the age of 13. Get help quitting any form of tobacco by calling 1-8000-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).

Paying For Treatment

Health insurance covers substance use disorder treatment. Your insurer can’t charge more if it’s a pre-existing condition.

If you’re looking for health insurance through Maryland Health Connection, learn how to identify the insurer that will provide the best coverage for the medications and providers you see in your community.

Need to Talk?

Call or Text 988

Anyone in need of assistance with mental health or substance use-related needs can call 988. Learn about 988 in Maryland.

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