Treatment: Substance abuse helpline an invaluable tool

A few years ago, just as many West Virginians were becoming aware of the substance abuse epidemic that was tightening its grip on the state, First Choice Services in Charleston partnered with the state Department of Health and Human Resources to develop the West Virginia Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Helpline. The folks answering those phones have now answered 30,000 calls.

Perhaps one of the reasons the helpline has gained a reputation for success is that it does not squander the sometimes brief window during which an addict makes the decision to seek help.

“Once they call us, they really don’t have to do much else. We kind of take over from there. We call around for them and find them treatment options,” Heather McDaniel, director of Helpline Services, told another media outlet.

Anyone, from all 55 counties, can take advantage of the helpline, which is connected to more than 1,000 recovery resources in the state.

“Whether that is short term, long term, medication-assisted treatment, outpatient counseling, detox services, or working with one of our recovery coaches. We get them connected right then when we are on the phone. We don’t give them just another phone number to call unless they specifically request that. Once we get that set up, we can also help with transportation to treatment,” McDaniel said.

It is a model many other help centers have been working to follow, but not an easy one.

Kudos to those at working the helpline who have made such a difference.

And to those who are ready to seek that help, the number is 1-844-435-7498. Let us hope 30,000 is just the beginning.