It can be difficult for patients and families seeking help for addiction to figure out what is a quality program as treatment options have expanded rapidly in the region.
Hundreds of resource guides are available online, but many are outdated or don’t differentiate between programs with multiple accreditations or state certifications and those with none.
Each county addiction and mental health board typically maintains a list of vetted resources they partner with but those lists often don’t include services in neighboring counties.
In order to comply with a legislative mandate to have a user-friendly, statewide resource for the public by a Jan. 1, 2018, deadline, the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services entered into a $20,000 contract with the Emerald Jenny Foundation to have the nonprofit build a website using state data and information submitted by treatment centers.
“House Bill 49 required our department to establish a user friendly search tool to better connect Ohioans to (substance use disorder) services in their communities,” said Jamie Carmichael, deputy director of public affairs at the state mental health department. “The legislature wasn’t satisfied with the antiquated search feature we had previously, and neither were we.”
Users are now redirected from the department’s website to emeraldjennyfoundation.org. A government disclaimer says, “This resource includes treatment and recovery providers that are not regulated by OhioMHAS.”
A search on the foundation’s site for “substance use disorder treatment providers” within 10 miles of Dayton yields 41 results, 11 of which are not state-licensed or state-certified, including two homeless shelters that don’t offer any treatment for substance abuse.
The state said the site is more user friendly than anything previously available and offers a wide range of options across counties. The foundation couldn’t be reached for comment.
The state wanted a partner who could actively update the resource list as providers change services often, Carmichael said.
“We are excited about this partnership and continue to work with Emerald Jenny to ensure that the product is a valuable resource for Ohioans in need of help with substance use disorders,” she said. “Currently, every provider included in the Emerald Jenny database has a certified (or not) indicator. In addition, people can search for programs based on substance, gender, age and other life circumstances to connect with the most appropriate resources.”
Jade Chandler, president of Woodhaven Residential Treatment Center in Dayton, recommends that people seeking a quality program should consult with either their local ADAMHS board, peer supporters in the community who have been through treatment, or even the police department.
Calling a certified facility like Woodhaven also can be helpful, he said, because they can refer people to quality options.
“If it’s someone that’s not appropriate for our facility, we’ve got multiple referral sources that we’ve vetted,” Chandler said.