An online tool to find addiction treatment launches in Florida

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Floridians can now access a free tool to help them find addiction treatment.

The online the assessment and treatment locator is called ATLASand it is designed to serve those struggling with addiction or concerned friends and family who are searching on their behalf.

Users can fill out a questionnaire to get recommendations on the types of treatments that might benefit them, depending on their situation. These could involve outpatient or residential programs, as well as additional services such as mental health care or drug treatment.

The developers worked with the American Society for Addiction Medicine to find questions and answers, according to Gary Mendell, founder and CEO of Unbreakablea non-profit addiction recovery organization that operates ATLAS in 10 states.

“To address what I went through as a father and what millions of people go through every day seeking treatment,” said Mendell, whose son died in 2011 after battling drug addiction for years.

The tool also allows users to filter searches based on locations that accept specific health insurance plans and whether they can accommodate certain populations, including veterans or pregnant women, among other criteria.

Treatment sites are evaluated on whether they offer services that align with the “National Principles of Careincluding rapid access to treatment, personalized plans and long-term follow-up.

The service is needed in Florida, according to Jennifer Moore, vice president of development at Tampa Bay Crisis Center. The center also operates a statewide substance abuse hotline, and Moore said this year he has answered more than 19,000 calls so far.

“Frustration is the biggest emotion we hear first,” she said. “Frustration of an individual unable to control his impulses and who feels guilty, frustration of an individual unable to find an establishment that takes his insurance.

“And then calls from family members and friends of someone struggling with addiction, calls from individuals who are overwhelmed with finding resources and how to help someone with this problem, this disease .”

The state’s largest health insurer, Florida Blue, has partnered with Shatterproof to fund the launch of ATLAS in the state.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody attended a launch event in Tampa on Thursday, where community members gathered for training on navigating the platform. Moody’s cited the more than 107,000 Americans who died from drug overdoses last year as she encouraged Florida families to take advantage of the tool.

“Whether you’re in trouble yourself or desperately trying to save someone you love, don’t wait another minute,” she said.

Resources

Access ATLAS online platform to locate a treatment near you.

Dial 2-1-1 for mental and behavioral health support, or 9-8-8 if you are experiencing a mental health crisis.

Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website for more resources or call its national hotline 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

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