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When you’re as ready as you can be to stop or change your using and rebuild your life in community, you need programs that can help with the range of problems and concerns that have piled up behind you and pushed you to seek help. This means not only focusing on changing drinking and drug use behaviors, but also managing depression, anxiety, trauma, and other mental health and psychiatric issues; addressing out-of-control or drug-linked sexual behavior; reconnecting to medical care and HIV, Hepatitis C and STI care or testing; rebuilding a safe social support system; and receiving information and referral for other needed services. Let us help you begin to sort it out.


Substance Use Treatment Services are here to help you better understand and address use, addiction and dependence related to drugs and alcohol. Whether you’re seeking to quit using altogether (abstinence-based) or are ready to change or reduce your use and lessen the resulting harms (harm reduction) we have a range of individual and group programs to help you meet your goals. Programs are available to both patients and non-patients of Whitman-Walker Health.


Because department staff are all licensed psychotherapists and psychologists, Substance Use Treatment Services integrate treatment of both mental health and substance use concerns. We offer specialized programming for methamphetamine users, heroin and opioid users, and those whose substance use and sexual behaviors have become strongly linked. Individual substance use-focused psychotherapy may be available as a stand-alone service or in addition to group treatment, depending on your care plan. Some services are location-specific. See program information for more.


History of Substance Use Services

Substance Use Services at Whitman-Walker has its roots in a volunteer-led telephone helpline for gay alcoholics that started in the mid-1970s. Since this beginning, the department and program offerings have evolved, adapting to the needs of community and integrating new language, science, and research. We provide services to individuals regardless of sexual orientation but have special expertise in working with LGBTQ communities.


Well known in community by its longstanding acronym, WWAS (Whitman-Walker Addiction Services, and before that, Whitman-Walker Alcoholism Services), the Substance Use Treatment Services department is as committed as ever to providing effective, culturally competent, evidence-based programming, and to treating substance users at every stage of use with the dignity, respect, and love we deserve.


Need Support Now?

  • National Suicide Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
  • Trans Lifeline: 1-877-565-8860
  • The Trevor Project Lifeline: 1-866-488-7386 (for LGBTQ+ youth)
  • Crisis Text Line: text  “GO” to 741741
  • DC Mental Health Access Line: 1-888-793-4357
  • In crisis? Click here for resources.


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