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NKY Addiction Helpline to Expand, Migrate to Drug Policy Office

The NKY Addiction Helpline will now be operated by the Northern Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy.

In a news release, the drug control policy office stated that the move of the helpline from the Addiction Services Council will increase services and streamline service delivery for Northern Kentuckians.

The helpline launched in 2016 to link individuals and families impacted by addiction and substance abuse disorders to information, services, and resources.

The helpline will now include a thorough case management and follow-up system operated by specialized case managers to ensure that people are receiving individualized attention and patient-centered care, the news release said.

“We wanted to institutionalize a multidisciplinary approach when navigating the treatment process,” said Amanda Peters, director of NKYODCP. “The goal is to be able to provide more outreach and immediate triage services at every intercept point to assist our families and neighbors in need when they begin the treatment process. This new structure will be dedicated to being with them every step of the way.”

The shift in programming will also allow for the creation of a NKY family advocacy office staffed with community volunteers who are trained in Casey’s Law. The volunteers will be able to assist families in the petitioning of the circuit court for involuntary treatment of friends and family members suffering from the disease of addiction, which is permitted by the law.

“Substance use disorders continue to make newspaper and television headlines throughout our community. As healthcare professionals, our staff encounter patients who are suffering from these disorders every day. The NKY Addiction Helpline provides an additional avenue of immediate assistance to Northern Kentucky families when time is of the essence, and it also provides critical ongoing resources thereafter,” said Garren Colvin, president and CEO of St. Elizabeth Healthcare.

The NKY Helpline will be aligned with the Prearrest Diversion and Quick Response Teams throughout the region. This will ensure that all those who experience an overdose or criminal justice encounter, where drugs are a root cause, will receive a home visit as well as access and referrals to treatment and disease management wrap-round services, the release said.

“The Northern Kentucky Helpline is key to getting individuals struggling with addiction into behavioral treatment programs so they can receive the help they need,” said Kenton County Judge/Executive Kris Knochelmann.

In Northern Kentucky, there are currently four Prearrest Diversion and Quick Response Teams. The Alexandria and Erlanger police departments staff police social workers or social service coordinators while both Boone County and Kenton County Police Departments have Quick Response Teams. Expansions are planned across the region in 2019, beginning with the City of Covington.

The NKYODCP was awarded a $150,000 pre-arrest diversion expansion grant which will cover the program for multiple counties. This grant will cover the cost of a second Police Social Worker, PSW, with the Alexandria Police Department and a paid mentor who will assist all Prearrest Diversion and Quick Response Team programs throughout the area and work with the NKY Addiction Helpline to ensure consistency with outreach, follow-up and data. NKY Addiction Helpline uses a collaborative model to carryout the multi-jurisdictional services utilizing the partnerships of Northern Kentucky University, Kenton County Detention Center and other stakeholders while collaborating across state lines in Ohio and West Virginia to ensure Northern Kentucky is at the forefront of this movement.

The expansion grant is provided by the Funders Response to Heroin Epidemic (FRHE) which includes the RC Durr Foundation, Interact for Health and the Greater Cincinnati Foundation. The Helpline is also significantly funded by St. Elizabeth Healthcare.

“We know addiction is a family disease, and we aim to strategically reach all who need assistance,” said Peters. “We are optimistic about the programming changes and look forward to working with our partners to enhance an already robust treatment infrastructure.”

-Staff report