How much does the government spend on drug rehab? 

While the Australian government spends around $240 million each year on alcohol and other drug services, less than half of addicts who need rehab will be able to get it. This leaves people desperate to get for their loved ones fearing bankruptcy in trying to fund rehab. Fortunately, your superannuation can offer a way to pay.

The short answer, if you’ve been looking for help, is ‘not enough’. Just over $240 million is budgeted by the Australian Government for funding of alcohol and other drug services, but if this is just a fraction of what is needed, according to Professor Nicole Lee of the National Drug Research Institute at Curtin University. In an interview last year she estimated that demand for treatment in 2017 was around half a million people, but only about 200,000 people received treatment.

If you’ve tried to find a rehab program for yourself or a loved one, these numbers are probably no surprise. The waiting lists are long, but the longer people have to wait, the more at risk they are. And the worse their financial situation as their addiction continues, and often their loved ones’ finances as they struggle to find ways to get treatment.

If you have a loved one desperately needing help, it may feel like you’ll end up bankrupt in trying to finance treatment. But when it’s your child, your partner or your sibling, you live in fear that they might die before you can get them the rehab they need.

If this is your situation, did you know you can access your superannuation to get help for yourself or a loved one? And that comprehensive addiction treatment is available for around a third of the Australian cost at Lanna Rehab in Thailand?

How Keith’s addictions took almost everything

Keith stayed at Lanna Rehab for 3 months in 2019 and says “it saved my life.”


Keith* recently told the story of how his addiction to alcohol and cocaine cost him his high-paying job, his home and his marriage. He smoked dope as a young teenager and later experimented with speed, LSD and ecstasy. But he didn’t have any problems until he got a high-paying job and found himself with a work-hard, play-hard habit which wasn’t sustainable.

When Keith’s relationships crashed and burned, his health also declined dramatically, and he began having seizures. The local rehab clinics would help him clean up temporarily, but offered no tools for dealing with ongoing issues. Without treatment to understand and deal with the issues behind his addiction, Keith was set up to fail again when these issues inevitably arose.

Many people have similar stories. For various reasons, some innocuous and some traumatic, they begin using recreational drugs or alcohol. By the time it’s a serious problem, it’s also very hard to organise and afford treatment. Finances and relationships are often lost in the chaos, but fortunately, many people still have super available.

How you can get your super to pay for rehab

By the time Keith had heard of Lanna’s rehab program in Thailand he couldn’t pay for it – his savings were long gone. Fortunately, the Australian Government allows for early access to superannuation to pay for drug and alcohol treatment.  Keith was able to access his super and pay for three months of treatment which saved his life and set him on the road to recovery.
If you’ve run out of other options to finance treatment for addiction, using your super can be a way to get the urgent help so desperately needed. Getting the right treatment now gives you or your loved one the chance to begin recovery and regain a healthy and productive life. Your super can be the way you can help without selling your house or going bankrupt through impossible loans.

Why Lanna Rehab in Thailand could be for you

Lanna Rehab offers a completely supportive and luxurious environment to treat addiction. You’re away from all the reminders of your old life and what went wrong, and you have a fresh start to begin treatment. Lanna uses the dual-diagnosis system, which uncovers the mental health issues which can trigger drug and alcohol use and abuse. Dual diagnosis is vital to recovery because when you return to rebuild your life, it gives you the skills to handle issues which were previously triggers to relapse. While you’re recovering physically and mentally, Lanna also provides you with delicious and nutritious meals, physical training, one-on-one counseling, meditation, mindfulness training, yoga and massage.
This nurturing environment is designed to give you complete support for recovery and renewal and it can be around a third of the cost of a similar Australian program. For more information, contact Lanna Rehab today.


Anne Lazarakis joined the Lanna Rehab team in 2019, from Sydney, Australia. She writes about addiction and mental health as a global issue, often focusing on our own client experiences and linking these to broader social trends. Before joining our team, she worked for several health services with a focus on equality of care, including the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the Royal Hospital for Women Foundation. Mental health - particularly addiction - is often stigmatised. Stigmas associated with these areas prevent people from seeking help and recovering. Barriers can be gender, religion, or culturally-based. In some parts of the world mental health is not even recognised as a health condition. By sharing people's stories, and making information more readily available, Anne advocates for accessibility of care for all.

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