Experts stress need for online addiction resource database update

Clinicians, researchers and patient advocates believe, the database dedicated to helping Americans with addiction find treatment, is in need of major updates to be more effective and credible, CNN reported May 11.

The database was launched by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in 2019, has a directory of more than 13,000 state-licensed treatment facilities, including information on what types of services are offered, which insurance plans are accepted and what ages are served.

However, the database often has inaccurate and outdated information, a lack of filtering options, and little guidance on how to identify high-quality treatment, addiction medicine expert Cara Poland, MD, told CNN.

Dr. Poland said her patients often find listed provider phone numbers to be disconnected, clinicians who had retired or relocated, and facilities that aren't accepting new patients.

Public health experts and clinicians have recommended that the database include facility and provider quality ratings, more specific filters, such as filtering for women-specific programs, and alter the model to allow those dealing with addiction to learn about the disorder and have tools to seamlessly find and enroll in treatment.

"People who are seeking help deserve to find immediate help," HendreƩ Jones, PhD, executive director of the Chapel Hill-based University of North Carolina's Horizons substance use treatment program for women and their children, told CNN.

"Having a national treatment locator that is up to date and easily searchable is a first step in that recovery journey."

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