About This Website
FindHelpNow.org is a real-time substance use disorder treatment availability locator and information center. The locator contains treatment providers and treatment openings including community mental health centers; private, non-profit, and faith-based treatment providers; and providers of medication assisted treatment. Providers are encouraged to update their treatment opportunities and facility information daily. FindHelpNow.org also contains a multidisciplinary information center to help answer questions about substance use, treatment, and recovery resources.
If you are a substance use disorder treatment provider and interested in listing your services on FindHelpNow.org, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FindHelpNow.org was created by the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center (KIPRC) as bona fide agent for the Kentucky Department for Public Health in partnership with the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy , the Kentucky Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities , and Operation UNITE .
FindHelpNow.org is funded under cooperative agreement NU17CE002732 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
KIPRC is a partnership between the Kentucky Department for Public Health and the University of Kentucky, affiliated with the College of Public Health. Our purpose is to decrease the burden of injuries, including drug overdoses, in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. To learn more about our programs, please visit our website: http://www.mc.uky.edu/kiprc
Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the individuals, family members, friends, and others who are suffering from a substance use disorder.
By Jenny Wells-Hosley, UKNow
The University of Kentucky Appalachian Center has a new resource available for students, faculty and community members seeking information on populations in Eastern Kentucky’s 54 counties.
“Eastern Kentucky: By the Numbers” offers a specialized set of county profiles from UK Cooperative Extension’s “Kentucky: By the Numbers" program. Compiled from 18 different sources, data for more than 60 variables are organized across 10 thematic areas, including substance use disorder data provided by KIPRC.
Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton, health and other community leaders Monday urged those suffering from substance use disorder to seek treatment after a jump in the number of overdose deaths.
The number of overdose deaths so far this year has surpassed the 128 drug-related fatalities in 2019.
As of Aug. 17, 130 people have died due to a drug overdose, Gorton said. That’s still down from the heroin- and fentanyl-fueled peak of 187 overdose deaths in 2017. In 2018, there were 161 overdose deaths in Kentucky’s second-largest county.
The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated drug use, Gorton said. More people are turning to drugs and alcohol to deal with the stress and uncertainty caused by the pandemic. It’s also harder for those with substance abuse disorder to get treatment.
“In isolation, drug use increases,” Gorton said at a press conference Monday to mark International Overdose Awareness Day. An increase in usage means an increase in overdoses, she said.
Nationally, overdose deaths are also on the rise, data shows. The number of drug overdoses increased 13 percent in the first months of 2020 over the previous year, according to a New York Times analysis. If that trend continues, the country could see the steepest spike in overdose deaths since 2016.
City and local health officials have been watching the number of overdoses since the first coronavirus case was reported in March. Even in May, Fayette County coroner’s office data showed overdoses up 42 percent for the first several months of 2020 compared to 2019.
Gorton and others who spoke Monday urged those who need help to get it and encouraged those who are not struggling with drug addiction to be compassionate to those who are. Stigmatizing drug users will mean less people seek treatment, which means more people will die of an overdose, said John Moses, team leader of harm reduction services at the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department.
That program, which will celebrate its 5th anniversary on Sept. 4, has provided more than 8,000 people with naloxone, an overdose reversal medication, in the past five years, Moses said.
International Overdose Awareness Day allows those who have lost a family member due to an overdose to publicly mourn their loss. It also raises awareness about substance use disorder and preventable overdose deaths, Moses said.
To recognize those who have lost a loved one to overdoses and to bring awareness to the issue during a time when the public has been focused on a different epidemic, the city is posting silver ribbons along Main Street and other downtown locations. Many parents of children who have died from an overdose are also publicly displaying the ribbons, Gorton said.
One of those ribbons will be for Heath Sanders, who died of heroin overdose in April 2013. Sanders was 32 at the time of his death, said Dale Sanders, Heath Sanders’ father.
“This disease took everything,” Sanders said of substance use disorder. “Everything he owned could be carried in two backpacks.”
Sanders said as a father he had to admit that his son and his family needed help. Substance use disorder affects everyone. But addiction is often viewed with shame. That shame can stop someone from getting help, he said.
“To the addict, reach out and get the help you need,” Sanders said. “To the family of the addict, don’t give up. No matter how many times it takes, keep trying.”
Lexington will also be hosting several events throughout September for National Recovery Month to encourage those who are struggling to get treatment. Those events will soon be available on the city’s web site at www.lexingtonky.gov.
©2020 the Lexington Herald-Leader (Lexington, Ky.)
Visit the Lexington Herald-Leader (Lexington, Ky.) at www.kentucky.com
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By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News
A new analysis of Medicaid claims data suggests that Kentucky counties with syringe-service programs have slightly lower rates of diseases associated with intravenous drug use, such as HIV and hepatitis C.
The analysis estimated a progressive reduction of 0.5 percent per month, adding up to a 6% increase over a year. That can add up to savings, not only in lives but money. So said Dr. Connie White, deputy commissioner of clinical affairs for the Kentucky Department for Public Health, at the Kentucky Harm Reduction Summit on Aug. 20.
White said, "As a public-health person, I think of all the emotional tragedy for the patient and for the family with one of these co-morbidities," diseases and conditions that occur together. "But if you're trying to sell this program to a bunch of politicians and legislators, you're talking about money saved, we're talking big money saved."
Kentucky has more syringe-service programs than any other state in the nation, but 56 of the state's 120 counties still don't have one -- and 20 of those are considered highly vulnerable to an HIV or hepatitis C outbreak among IV drug users, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Thirty-four of the state's most vulnerable counties have operational syringe exchanges.
The vulnerable counties without an exchange include Bell and Clinton, which rank sixth and 11th on the national list of 220; Cumberland, Casey, Edmonson, Harlan, Johnson, Lawrence, Lewis, Menifee, Monroe, Rockcastle, and Wayne, also in Appalachian Kentucky; and eight in the rest of the state: Carroll, Gallatin, Green, Breckinridge, Grayson, Green, Allen, and Hickman.
Kentucky has 74 operational syringe-service programs in 63 counties, with one more in Christian County approved but not operational. Bracken County's exchange is marked on the state's map as not yet operational, but it started operating July 8.
Syringe-service programs are more broadly referred to as harm-reduction programs and are designed to prevent outbreaks of HIV and hepatitis C, which are commonly spread by needle sharing among IV drug users. They also provide health screenings and vaccines and connect drug users to treatment.
They are allowed by a 2015 state law that requires approval by the county health board, the fiscal court, and the city where the exchange is to be located.
Syringe exchanges reduce disease
The Kentucky Office of Health Data and Analytics did the analysis at the request of the Department for Public Health.
One reason the study is so important is that it helps to root the debate about such programs in empirical data, said Mathew Walton, a researcher with the office.
Walton pointed to a national study that shows a person's political affiliation, income, and amount of stigma they feel about addiction and syringe-service programs are significant predictors of whether or not someone supports these programs -- not the facts.
The study looked at Medicaid claims from January 2015 through June 2019 in any county that had implemented a syringe-service program during that time.
It looked for six infections largely connected to IV drug use and minimally associated with other activities: HIV, hepatitis C, endocarditis, osteomyelitis, and, in people diagnosed with opioid-use disorder, skin, and soft-tissue infections. The researchers only included new infections in their analysis.
The study looked at infection rates before and after the syringe exchange was established in 42 counties. Recognizing that results might not be seen immediately, included lag times of one month, three months, and six months. It also adjusted for a list of variables, many related to demographics.
Cameron Bushling, a statistician with the office, said each of the lag-time scenarios showed a decrease in infections after the syringe exchange was established.
"The infection rate in your county will go down by roughly half a percent each month after you implement a syringe service program," he said. "So some, some may think this is a small number, but it's important to keep in mind that our infection rates were very low. . . . So half a percent is still a pretty big find."
In conclusion, Walton pointed out that most of the counties in the study were rural, outside metro areas.
"There's an evidence of an association that they were successful in reducing infection, new infections," Walton said. "These do seem to be an effective use of resources for preventing costly and harmful infectious disease."
He said the savings would come with even small reductions in infections caused by IV drug use.
"While this analysis revealed that this set of infectious-disease diagnoses was rare, even preventing a small percentage of them can have a significant effect on the Medicaid program," he said. "A single course of treatment for hepatitis C can be as much as $85,000 or more, so even a small outbreak prevention can be both a sort of economic benefit as well as a humanitarian and medical population health benefit."
Advice for resistant counties
Van Ingram, executive director of the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, after a separate presentation, was asked what advice he would give counties that have been resistant to syringe exchanges.
"I realize these can be controversial in some communities," said Ingram, who was Maysville's police chief before taking the drug-control job, and back then opposed syringe exchanges. Many law-enforcement officers do, believing, that they encourage drug use, despite research to the contrary.
"Well, first, just don't give up," he said. "Second, do everything you can to get the public on your side, the voters on your side. . . . and continue to keep raising this issue."
He also suggested identifying the thought leaders in a community, those who have influence, and then educating them on why it's important to have one. His last bit of advice was to reach out to public health departments that have already fought this fight successfully and learn from their strategies.
Asked the same advice question, Frankie Haynes, the harm reduction coordinator for the Barren River District Health Department, stressed that educating the public is the key.
"I can't tell you how many times we went into different entities and just explained to people what harm reduction was, or what needle-exchange services are, what are we doing," she said during a panel discussion about exchanges, "And once you give them a whole rundown on what it looks like to be a part of our program, what to expect within the program, you really start seeing eyes opening to the need for these programs across the state."
The Bowling Green-based Barren River department is working to expand syringe services into Logan County, which has received approval from its Board of Health, but still needs the approval of the Russellville City Council and the county Fiscal Court. Two of the district's eight counties (Warren and Barren) have exchanges.
Jennifer Twyman, health-education specialist with the Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness syringe exchange program, agreed with Haynes. She said discussions with the public put a face on the program: "Talking to people in the community, so that they know what we're doing, makes just a huge difference."
Most Residential Addiction Treatment Programs Don’t Offer Live-Saving Medication
Patients seeking treatment for an opioid addiction have limited access to a life-saving medication, buprenorphine, in residential treatment facilities across the U.S. Research published in JAMA finds that 29% of 368 programs contacted offer the drug that helps reduce cravings for heroin or fentanyl. Another 21% of the treatment centers contacted discouraged its use.
The results build on previous research that shows most programs that patients check in to for days, weeks or months at a time do not offer any of the FDA-approved medications to treat an opioid use disorder. That’s despite the growing body of work that concludes buprenorphine reduces the risk of relapse, overdose, and death.
The study used a “secret shopper” approach. Callers posing as 27-year-old uninsured heroin users reached out to both private and government-run facilities.
The researchers, based at Harvard, Johns Hopkins and Yale University, say the results raise concerns about the quality of care patients can expect to find at residential treatment programs. Lead author, Dr. Michael Barnett, says prescribing buprenorphine should be a basic component of addiction treatment.
“That’s a very low bar to pass and still most facilities aren’t meeting it,” says Barnett, an assistant professor of health policy and management at Harvard’s Chan School of Public Health.
The limited use of buprenorphine, whose brand names include Suboxone, Subutex and Sublocade, highlights a long-standing controversy. Many people who’ve been addicted to drugs or alcohol say abstaining from all such substances is the only way to fully recover. They argue that using buprenorphine, a less potent opioid, is substituting one drug for another.
Barnett says that’s more of a philosophy than a position based on clinical results.
“As a physician, I’ve seen how medications like buprenorphine can let my patients with an addiction really lead normal lives,” he said. “It’s a medication just like anything else we use to treat an illness, whether we use an antidepressant for someone who has depression or insulin for someone who has diabetes.”
Annie Peters, director of research and education with the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers, says she was sad but not surprised to read the study results. She’s heard from people in recovery who feel strongly that others can not make the emotional, lifestyle and spiritual changes while they are under the influence of a drug.
“But spiritual and emotional change is fully compatible with use of a medication that helps you not crave and not overdose,” says Peters.
Peters adds that counseling and group therapy must be packaged with a prescription for buprenorphine.
The NAATP promotes abstinence but Peters said it’s time to redefine what means.
“Abstinence is abstaining from the chemicals that are killing you, the ones that cause you to lose your family and your job and your self-esteem and your mental health,” she says. “If you can abstain from those and take the medications that will be helpful in getting those things back, that’s what needs to change.”
Here’s another reason some addiction treatment providers are opposed to buprenorphine; they argue it is resold and misused on the streets. But Peters points out that’s true for many prescribed medications including antidepressants and drugs that relieve anxiety.
Peters says one remedy here is more education about the benefits of buprenorphine. She and Barnett agree that providers would change quickly if the agencies that license treatment programs started requiring buprenorphine as an option, or if insurers stopped paying facilities that don’t offer it.