• Article
  • Mar 16 2023

KIPRC-developed treatment locator expands to Tennessee, more states interested

Screenshot of the homepage of FindHelpNow.org. Users can now choose between Kentucky and Tennessee jurisdictions.

Since launching in February 2018, FindHelpNowKY.org has been visited more than 800,000 times by nearly 400,000 visitors. FindHelpNow is a near-real-time substance use disorder treatment locator created by the University of Kentucky College of Public Health’s Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center (KIPRC). While the substance use disorder (SUD) treatment locator website started in Kentucky, Tennessee recently launched its own FindHelpNow website, and three other jurisdictions are in the process of joining.

“SUD treatment referral practices require innovative strategies that rapidly link individuals to available care when they are at the critical moment of readiness,” said Catherine Hines, KIPRC expert and research program manager for FindHelpNow.org. “Analysis of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) treatment episode discharge data sets showed that SUD treatment referral occurred primarily through self-referral and the criminal justice system; health care practitioners count as an additional referral source. Platforms like FindHelpNow can be utilized by all these professionals, and expansion to other states can increase the number of people who are able to obtain timely access to SUD treatment.”

When visiting FindHelpNow.org, visitors enter basic search criteria and then are provided with a near-real-time list of SUD treatment facilities with available openings. Visitors can then access a facility’s contact information and begin the process of reaching out to the facilities to obtain treatment.

“All searches are location-based; an individual can search for a facility in the town of their choosing and then use over 60 search filters to narrow the search results to the facilities that most closely fit their needs for method of payment, hours of operation, wrap-around services, etc.,” said Leah Dick, KIPRC expert and the new program manager for FindHelpNow.org.

While Kentucky was the first state to launch the database, Tennessee’s FindHelpNowTN.org went live on Oct. 5, 2022.

Kristen Zak, deputy director of the Overdose Response Coordination Office at the Tennessee Department of Health, said Tennessee identified developing a central portal for treatment resources in the state as a goal during their initial application for an Overdose Data to Action (OD2A) grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“We had received feedback from many programs that intensive efforts were required to develop paper resource directories that quickly became outdated,” said Zak. “So, while we knew we wanted to prioritize such a project and wrote it into our Overdose Data to Action application, we didn’t really know how to go about creating such a resource and didn’t have any idea what it would cost. Then, we became aware of FindHelpNow.org, began researching the opportunity, and attended the first FindHelpNow conference to learn more. The site was exactly what we envisioned creating, and the development and research had already been done by our neighbor state. So this was very attractive to us.”

Hines said KIPRC, where FindHelpNow.org was created and is currently based, helps jurisdictions to onboard to the FindHelpNow platform or supports through KIPRC’s technical assistance in developing their own linkage-to-SUD care practices and websites. The implementation process has each step laid out in detail and prepares jurisdictions to know what to expect throughout the process. KIPRC‘s team is available for meetings, training and demonstrations and are always available to answer questions or concerns.

“The development process was streamlined, so it went well,” Zak said. “There were a number of attributes customized for our site. It was very helpful that the site had already been researched, focus grouped, and more by the KIPRC team. That helped us feel really confident about the content.”

While the FindHelpNow.org website platform is available to all state or local jurisdictions, Hines said KIPRC recognizes that it may not meet the needs of every jurisdiction. Technical assistance is also available to any jurisdiction that decides to develop its own alternative SUD treatment locator website.

Zak said she hopes KIPRC is able to recruit more jurisdictions to participate.

“It’s an important project,” she said. “It’s a cost-effective way to provide a really important resource for the public and partners in the field trying to assist the public.”  

Hines noted that working with Tennessee has been a great opportunity for Kentucky. In addition to being a collaborative and mutually beneficial partnership, the FindHelpNowKY.org platform incorporated some changes to search filters and label changes suggested by Tennessee.

“Tennessee, as the first published jurisdiction aside from Kentucky, truly laid essential groundwork for any other jurisdiction that is working to implement FindHelpNow in their area,” Hines said. “All the implementation phases were solidified, and potential technical issues were addressed at the onset to ensure a smooth process for all other jurisdictions adopting FindHelpNow. Tennessee remains an excellent partner and an example for other jurisdictions onboarding.”

Interested jurisdictions can contact the KIPRC team to discuss FindHelpNow and potential implementation at info@findhelpnow.org.

FindHelpNow.org was created by the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, which is housed in the University of Kentucky’s College of Public Health and is a bona fide agent for the Kentucky Department for Public Health. The website is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. First launched in Kentucky, it is expanding to additional states and jurisdictions across the United States to allow individuals to utilize this website resource to find timely access to SUD treatment.

FindHelpNow.org is funded under cooperative agreement NU17CE924971 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.