I was doing spring yard clean-up (and dodging blackflies) one Sunday afternoon when my cell phone buzzed in my back pocket.
A friend was calling from out-of-state. He had pulled over by the side of the road in Vermont, and was talking on a sketchy cell phone connection. He had gotten a call from a friend in Massachusetts who had a friend in New Hampshire who needed treatment for a substance use disorder. He knew I’d been writing about the issue, and thought I’d know how to find help, or at least know who to ask.
What kind of help did the person need? Residential, outpatient, recovery support? My friend didn’t know.
Where in New Hampshire did they live? Not sure.
If I know one thing about the disease of addiction, it is that when a sick person is ready to seek treatment, hesitation is not an option. “Let me make some calls and get back to you tomorrow” is a really, really bad answer. I stood there with the rake for a minute, running through the list of people I might call, and how I was going to reach them FAST on a Sunday afternoon.
It took a minute, but the lightbulb finally came on:
“Oh, HANG ON. We have a TREATMENT LOCATOR in New Hampshire now!”
(And I could hear my colleague Tym Rourke’s voice in my mind’s ear, talking about this thing, and couldn’t believe it took me three full beats to remember it. That old adage about having to hear something three times before it sticks? Turns out to be true.)
I dropped the rake in the yard and my work gloves on the kitchen floor and typed “NH drug and alcohol treatment locator” into the Google search bar.
Boom. nhtreatment.org. There it was.
Once more, so it sticks: nhtreatment.org.
I could filter by type of service. I could filter by location. By population served, by types of insurance and payment accepted.
I texted “nhtreatment.org” to my friend, and, for good measure, the name and phone number of a centrally located treatment facility in New Hampshire. He passed it on immediately. All told, it took about 15 minutes before the person who needed the information had it. That’s WAY better than “I’ll call you tomorrow.” My friend shared the same information two days later with someone else who needed help.
There was a time when this was not nearly so easy, and when people were much more likely to go untreated because they just didn’t know where to go. Now the information is a couple keystrokes away, 24/7. That’s huge. The NH Alcohol and Drug Treatment Locator, launched in 2015, is the work of the New Hampshire Center for Excellence, which was established and funded through a partnership between the New Hampshire Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services and the Charitable Foundation.
And “nhtreatment.org” is now safely lodged right next to “9-1-1” in the “emergency info” compartment of my brain.
Read more about the Foundation’s work to combat substance use disorders in New Hampshire.