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211 launching Opioid Crisis Referral Program

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Posted at 9:29 AM, Jul 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-22 12:23:19-04

The state's 211 service is now offering a way for Louisianans affected by the opioid crisis to connect with necessary help and resources.

Texting OPIOID to 898-211 provides access to local resources and the ability to connect those in need to live crisis support.

“Giving Louisianians a new, confidential way to get this information was mission critical for us,” said Sarah Berthelot, president and CEO of Louisiana Association of United Ways. “Whether the information is for themselves or their loved ones, calling or texting 211, gives those in need a place to start finding the information that could save a life.”

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 93,000 people died of a drug overdose in the U.S. last year, a record number that reflects a rise of nearly 30% from 2019.

“In Louisiana, the number of opioid overdoses is astounding. And what already was a crisis has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Center for Health Statistics predicts Louisiana’s overdoses will rise by more than 40% this year,” said Dr. Courtney Phillips, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health. “The 211 OPIOID texting program is a key part of Louisiana's strategy to address the opioid crisis. So many times individuals and the families who love them don’t know where to turn.”

Louisianans can also call 211 and reach specialists for help in accessing information on topics like COVID-19, food, disaster assistance, crisis counseling, health care or housing.

“Louisiana 211 continues to explore new and ambitious ways technology can connect people around the state with the help they need when they need it. Providing equitable access to help and resources is a priority for our statewide team,” Berthelot said.

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