White House launches website aimed at addiction treatment

Regional News
Kellyanne Conway

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway talks to reporters outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Friday, Oct. 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration has unveiled a website aimed at helping millions of Americans with substance abuse issues learn about and locate treatment options.

FindTreatment.gov is the latest development in the administration’s effort to address the nation’s opioid crisis. The White House said it believes the site, which went up Wednesday, will enable the tens of millions of Americans with a variety of substance abuse and mental health issues to better access the care they need.

Kellyanne Conway, the counselor to President Donald Trump who is leading the White House response to the drug crisis, said the site is designed to provide “connectivity” between treatment providers and those who need help.

FindTreatment.gov modernizes an obscure directory of 13,000 licensed treatment providers maintained by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, adding user-friendly search criteria and tools. For instance, it will now allow users to search based on the type of treatment sought — such as inpatient, detox or telemedicine — by payment option and whether the treatment is medication-assisted.

Users also will be able to select between options that focus on youth, veterans and LGBT Americans.

The website also is meant to be an educational resource for those needing care and their loved ones with information on how to pay for treatment.

“We know that the drug crisis is indiscriminate, so we want the response to be indiscriminate,” Conway said.

The website was built in-house by government coders and is managed by the White House. The administration is calling FindTreatment.gov an example of “American-First design” that offers easy access to information without breaking the federal budget.

“We designed it with human-centered principles in mind,” Conway said. “We used real words for real people.”

The effort included employing a language expert for help with providing “destigmatizing” explanations for treatment options to make them more acceptable to those in need.

The site’s design was informed by more than 300 user feedback responses and 60 detailed interviews with those who have sought treatment, their family members and providers, the White House said.

The website builds on other efforts by the White House to address the drug crisis, including law enforcement efforts, securing billions of dollars from Congress for treatment and working with the private sector on promoting drug “take back” days.

More than 70,000 Americans died in 2017 from drug overdoses, the bulk of them involving opioids.

Future developments include plans to more closely integrate the site with the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide more targeted resources to the community of former service members.

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