CHILLICOTHE – The region has a new tool to connect people seeking immediate drug treatment options more quickly.
FindLocalTreatment.com aims to not only provide people with a list of accredited treatment facilities but encourages those providers to update availability information regularly, verify treatment services offered, and what type of insurance is accepted. The service will be promoted to the community as well as healthcare providers and first responders who often come into contact with those who are addicted.
“As a physician, this would be incredibly helpful for me,” said Dr. John Gabis at a recent Hope Partnership Project meeting.
The treatment finder kicked off earlier this year in the Cincinnati area after Mercy Health Foundation invested in Crosswave Health, the technology company behind the service.
Raj Gupta, co-founder, and CEO of Cincinnati-based Crosswave Health, met with the Hope Partnership Project (formerly the Heroin Partnership Project) last month to outline the service which was prompted in part after his friend’s sister died of a drug overdose two years ago.
His friend shared how difficult it was to find treatment, so Gupta began asking around and discovered many communities struggled with the same issue. However, the problem sometimes was more about being connected to the right service provider who can help rather than a lack of treatment.
“Quickly and accurately pairing individuals with local trusted treatment programs decreases the number of people who fall through the cracks while trying to find help,” Gupta said in a news release. “We can’t expect those suffering from a chronic disease like addiction to sift through lists of phone numbers, hoping the provider they call accepts their insurance and also has capacity.”
In Cincinnati, the “vast majority” of the certified treatment providers are on board – paying an annual fee – and 96 percent are updating information daily, Gupta said. About 10,000 people searched FindLocalTreatment.com in the first months after launch with 45 percent seeking help for heroin addiction and 20 percent for alcohol.
Treatment providers in the Chillicothe area have been added to the finder for a free trial and are still in the process of verifying information. Gupta said providers in Cincinnati have been able to justify the fee for the service because of the added volume of patients they’re getting.
“Knowing that FindLocalTreatment members all meet quality criteria such as having evidence-based treatment options gives us confidence in the providers on the platform that didn’t exist before,” Gabis said in a news release.
The new tool comes as Ross County could see another slight decline in fatal unintentional drug overdoses. In 2017, the county had 34 overdose deaths with three ruled as suicide – 10 fewer than 2016. So far this year, there have been 23 confirmed unintentional drug overdose deaths.
Gabis said the availability of the overdose reversal drug naloxone continues to be a significant factor in the decline, but they also believe a shift away from heroin – often spiked with powerful, deadly opiates fentanyl and carfentanil – toward meth plays a factor.
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