What Do We Understand About Drug Abuse Within the Deaf Community?

There are videos captioned and signed for people who are hard of hearing through Described and Captioned Media Program under the Drug Abuse subcategory. Learning to support people who are hard of hearing with drug abuse safety and education is a challenge that is worth pursuing.


Many articles have been written on substance abuse among the deaf and hard of hearing people. Many articles have been posted to publications and shared broadly. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse along with the Journal of American Deafness and Rehabilitation Association are just a few of the publications which have published chemical dependency treatment articles. Gallaudet University library in Washington, D.C. has a thesis paper on substance use among deaf and hard-of-hearing participants in a substance abuse treatment program.

Support for Abusers

Support groups for deaf substance abuse survivors exists although there are only a few of them. Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are available for some people depending where they live that accommodate people who are hard of hearing. The biggest challenge is finding where they are and accessing those resources discreetly.


Some treatment centers provide services for deaf and hard of hearing people who struggle with substance use. A National Directory of Alcohol and Other Drugs Prevention and Treatment Programs Accessible to the Deaf, is available through the Rochester Institute of Technology Substance and Alcohol Intervention Services for the Deaf (SAISD). This downloadable directory can be used by either deaf people seeking help or counselors seeking programs for clients in need.

Professional Organizations

ADARA, formerly the American Deafness and Rehabilitation Association, is a professional organization for service providers to the deaf and hard of hearing. Among interest sections is one on Chemical Dependency.

Books and Resources

The following books are great resources for people who are hard of hearing or deaf on substance abuse issues:

  • Deaf & Sober: Journeys Through Recovery, by Betty G. Miller. (compare prices)
  • Signs of Drug Use: An Introduction to Some Drug and Alcohol-Related Vocabulary in American Sign Language (compare prices)
  • Counseling the Deaf Substance Abuser (ISBN 0966375300), by Frank Lala. Available through Gregory Kassel, Midas Management Company, PO Box 610393, San Jose, CA 95161

It is good to contact a treatment center if you are deaf or hard of hearing to find out how they might accommodate your needs and support recovery from addiction.

The Last Resort provides a safe, supportive environment for men in a retreat-like setting. Nature is an important component of recovery and healing. We strive to provide a place of enrichment that cultivates the inner as well as the outer journey of recovery. However you find your way to the Last Resort, we endeavor to provide a haven where you can journey through recovery feeling like your life and story have meaning and a purpose. Call us to find out more: 512-750-6750.