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211 Wisconsin joins new Addiction Recovery Helpline initiative

Metro Wire Staff

A new addiction recovery helpline is available for people who want help.

211 Wisconsin is bringing its statewide network of staff and resources to support Wisconsin’s new Addiction Recovery Helpline. The free, 24/7 service is confidential and connects people struggling with substance use to local treatment services and recovery resources.

Supported by the Department of Health Services (DHS), the Helpline is accessed by dialing 2-1-1 or 833-944-4673.

A brand-new website—addictionhelpwi.org—has also been launched for the service. The site now allows people to reach the helpline in four different ways—call, text, chat and, online—and is another streamlined access point to the treatment services and recovery resources available.

Fully focused on recovery, the new site allows visitors to access resources for signing up for insurance, browse treatment options and learn more about recovery. A guided search function is also available to walk visitors through the site’s resources.

“We want people to know that recovery is possible, and the service is meant for anyone–whether you’re struggling personally or calling for a friend or loved one,” said Charlene Mouille, executive director for the United Way of Wisconsin. “These resources are local, so we’re able to connect people with services right in their communities to help them get on the road to recovery.”

To support rural and urban communities statewide, there are seven contact centers throughout Wisconsin, including a call center in Wausau that covers Portage Co. and is funded by United Way of Portage County. By leveraging United Way’s local connections to service providers and the existing 2-1-1 service, the Helpline connects residents with local resources using a database of both public and private programs.

Resources include crisis and detoxification services, assessment, counseling, medication-assisted treatment, and both residential and outpatient services, among others. The helpline also provides follow-up services for callers and helps them remove barriers to getting treatment, such as navigating payment options available through health insurance and helping to remove barriers such as transportation challenges.

While the Wisconsin Addiction Recovery Helpline is inclusive of all types of substance use disorders, the helpline was created in response to the alarming number of opioid-related deaths in recent years. In 2017, 916 people died in Wisconsin due to opioid overdose—more than the total number of deaths in car crashes. Thirty-nine local United Ways together invest $109 million annually to help communities solve local problems and change lives throughout Wisconsin.

For more information, go to www.addictionhelpwi.org. To find out more about Wisconsin’s opioid crisis, visit https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/opioids/index.htm.