State resources provide safe path to addiction services

For people trapped in the up-and-down struggle of addiction, and the family members suffering alongside them, the prospect of a healthier tomorrow seems heaven-sent.

Too often, they find themselves caught in a deeper hell.

Fraudulent “sober houses” churn patients in and out, charging their insurance and then facilitating a relapse to send them to another facility. Internet searches offer hotlines to help, while in reality operators are "brokering" patients for profit. Websites promise seaside retreats and recovery spas that in reality are run-down and lacking services.

As the opioid epidemic has continued throughout the country, unscrupulous businesses taking advantage of desperate people have become more common.

Indiana officials have seen the problems that places such as California and Florida have had to deal with, and protections have been put in place to direct those who need help to the services that can provide it, according to Jim Gavin, director of communications for Indiana’s Family and Social Services Administration.

In 2018, Indiana established an online portal through its Next Level Recovery campaign to help people find reputable addiction treatment, both inpatient, outpatient, residential and opioid treatment programs.

Searches can be narrowed for adults or adolescents, men or women, for those looking for a specific type of facility.

The portal was a way to provide those ready to get help for their addiction information in one reliable location.

“This new online feature puts critical information right into the palms of the hands of people who need it most — those who are struggling with addiction and are ready to find help,” said Dr. Jennifer Walthall, secretary of the Family and Social Services Administration. “It is extremely important that we continue to add tools like this in our fight against the opioid crisis in Indiana as it helps direct individuals to addiction treatment that fits their unique needs.”

The Division of Mental Health and Addiction, a department within the state’s Family and Social Services Administration, plays a role in certifying residential addiction treatment facilities and licensing private psychiatric hospitals, Gavin said in an email.

If a new organization wants to provide addiction services in Indiana, or if an existing group wants to expand to a new location within the state, state officials research the company’s past actions and record in other states. The goal is to determine if any red-flags exist about its services, or if problematic issues have occurred in the past, Gavin said. 

Residential and in-patient facilities are required to have national accreditation to operate in Indiana. Clinical staff must be licensed and credentialed in the state. The treatment facilities are subject to in-person physical site inspections, Gavin said.

"We will also perform routine quality improvement site visits, and will inspect as needed based on any complaints we receive," Gavin said in an email.

As individuals and families search for the right treatment to help, state officials encourage them to talk to facilities about their success and outcomes. Contacting multiple locations is also encouraged before deciding which provider is best for them, Gavin said.

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How to find help

The state of Indiana has established an online portal for people looking for certified addiction treatment providers.

Tools to find providers near your location, as well as other resources, are available at