America's response to addiction relies on fixing this website

(KHN)At a psychiatric hospital in Michigan, 박사. Cara Poland’s patients were handed a sheet of paper to find follow-up care. The hospital had entered local ZIP codes on a website — run by the nation’s top substance use and mental health agency — and printed the resulting list of providers for patients to call.

But her patients who tried to use it often hit a wall, Poland said. They’d call a number only to find it disconnected, or they’d learn that a facility wasn’t accepting new patients, or that the clinician had retired or moved.
“무서워, because if you go to use the site, it’s got invalid information,” 말했다 폴란드, an addiction-medicine doctor who is now an assistant professor in women’s health at Michigan State University. “People give up if they can’t find treatment. And we risk losing a life.
    The website,, 였다 launched by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 에 2019 to help hundreds of thousands of Americans affected by addiction answer a crucial question: Where can I get treatment? It is a directory of more than 13,000 state-licensed treatment facilities, including information on what types of services are offered, which insurance plans are accepted, and what ages are served.
      Clinicians, 연구원, and patient advocates welcomed the repository as a critical first step to overcoming the fragmented addiction treatment landscape and centralizing information for patients. Most considered it a safer alternative to Googlingaddiction treatment near me” 과 turning up potentially predatory marketers.
        하나, the same proponents say and SAMHSA’s other treatment locators have critical flaws — 부정확시대에 뒤쳐진 정보, a lack of filtering options, and little guidance on how to identify high-quality treatment — that are long overdue for attention.
        It’s being treated as a gold-standard tool, but it’s not,” Poland said.
          overdose deaths reaching record highs, “we need to be better,” 말했다 Jonathan Stoltman, director of the Opioid Policy Institute in Michigan.
 is the first link that comes up on Google searches for rehab, 그는 말했다. According to SAMHSA, a branch of the U.S. 보건복지부, it receives nearly 300,000 page views a month. It’s the tool many state and local helplines use when trying to connect someone to treatment.
          It’s crucial to get this right,” Stoltman said.
          SAMHSA spokesperson Christopher Garrett said in a statement that the agencyendeavors to keep the [tools] current.If SAMHSA is informed of outdated information — such as an incorrect address, telephone number, or type of service offered —we act upon that information,” 그가 썼어. Such updates are made weekly.
          게다가, SAMHSA surveys facilities yearly, using the responses to update, Garrett wrote.
          Bradley Stein, director of the Rand Opioid Policy Center, said improving the treatment locator would be helpful, but some of the criticism reflects more complex underlying issues — like the shortage of providers — that SAMHSA alone cannot solve.
          There’s going to be a limit to its value if everywhere basically has a waiting list,” Stein said.
          But others say fixing the flaws is central to the nation’s response to addiction.
          It’s time to stop analyzing the opioid epidemic, ” 말했다 박사. Babak Tofighi, an internist at NYU Langone Health who studies how technology can increase access to treatment for substance use disorders. 대신, 그는 말했다, funding needs to go toward meeting treatment demand.
          He said treatment locators not only need to maintain accurate information, but also should alter their models to allow people to do everything in one place: learn about addiction, research treatment providers, and enroll in care seamlessly.
          Even small movement in that direction could make a big difference, 말했다 Hendrée Jones, executive director of the University of North Carolina’s Horizons substance use treatment program for women and their children. SAMHSA collects data on which facilities serve pregnant and postpartum patients, 그녀가 말했다, yet doesn’t allow users to filter by those categories. Changing that could benefit some of the patients who struggle most to find care.
          Perhaps the biggest improvement clinicians and public health experts want to see on is an indicator of a facility’s quality. 현재, users can filter by type of treatment — detox, inpatient, outpatient — and whether a facility offers medications for opioid use disorder. But the site does not indicate which types of care are more likely to be successful — even though the federal government funds research on that subject. SAMHSA has a minimal vetting process for the facilities displayed, requiring only that they complete a survey and be licensed in their state.
          Researchers and public health experts say this can lead patients to spend thousands of dollars on ineffective treatment or even predatory facilities. ㅏ study published last year found that hundreds of residential programs on SAMHSA’s websites were admitting people for costly treatment — sometimes encouraging them to go into debt — without assessing whether they really needed that level of care.
          Frank Greenagel, a clinical social worker in New Jersey who specializes in addiction treatment, said relying on state licensure is misguided because many state agencies check only a facility’s paperwork, which can list counseling or other services even if they were never actually provided.
          Garrett, the SAMHSA spokesperson, said in the statement to KHN that the agency trusts state health departments and other accrediting bodies to address subpar facilities. The statement also said decisions about treatment should ideally be made between patients and their physicians.
          Other private and public treatment locator tools have popped up to fill in some of the gaps on, though experts say they have their own shortcomings.
          그만큼 nonprofit Shatterproof developed an online resource called ATLAS, which measures facility quality. The website, which currently provides information on six states, includes patient reviews and asks providers to report whether they meet certainsigns of high-quality care,” such as offering same-day appointments, providing medications for opioid use disorder, and offering individual counseling.
          In four of those states, Shatterproof uses insurance claims data to track how often facilities implement best practices, 말했다 Shannon Biello, vice president of treatment quality and strategy for ATLAS. Although that data is not visible publicly, facilities can access it privately and see how they compare with others in their state.
          Patient advocates hope the platform will guide people to more effective care and encourage facilities to improve their practices. But they also worry about the organization’s ability to go national and sustain a multimillion-dollar project.
          오하이오에서, one family took on the job of creating a treatment locator for the state.
          Bill Ayars lost his 28-year-old daughter, 제니퍼, to a drug overdose in 2016. 당시, didn’t exist. Ayars simply had a notebook in which the family had written names of facilities they’d called to get Jennifer help. He wanted to give other families a better place to start.
          에 2017, along with his then-fiancée, younger daughter, and a few hired staff members, Ayars launched a treatment locator site. It eventually listed 1,200 addiction treatment providers across Ohio and garnered more than 200,000 방문자. It was featured on the state mental health and addiction agency’s website, printed on the discharge papers of a major hospital system, and listed on flyers distributed by syringe service programs.
          We felt very good that we filled a gap,” said Ayars, of Cleveland.
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          But it was a significant lift. Ayarsfiancée and staffers often spent 12 hours a day calling facilities and updating their information every six months. The project cost more than $ 100,000 년, 그는 말했다.
          So when SAMHSA launched, Ayars retired the site his team had built and directed visitors to the national resource instead.
            It’s for families like Ayarsthat it’s crucial to improve, 전문가들은 말한다.
            People who are seeking help deserve to find immediate help,” said Jones in North Carolina. “Having a national treatment locator that is up to date and easily searchable is a first step in that recovery journey.

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