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Like many rural counties across the nation, Lake County in California has been hit hard by the substance use epidemic.

Despite being very rural, Lake County has one of the highest per capita drug overdose death rates in the country. It even saw an increase in drug overdose deaths from 18 in 2018 to 26 last year.

A new a substance-use disorder (SUD) treatment facility locator website hopes to help reverse those numbers.

Rebecca Schwartz, an AmeriCorps VISTA, thought a website could be a great way for people to find treatment options in Lake County, California. So, she reached out to FindHelpNow Kentucky.

Schwartz attended a Peer-to-Peer Learning Network conference in November 2019, hosted by the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, and returned to California with the hope of replicating the platform. After approval from her supervisors, Schwartz dug in and began building what would become

“While Rebecca was making the website and reaching out to treatment facilities to have them listed on the website, we made ourselves available during that process to share any information, helpful tips, strategies and approaches that she may be able to adopt to make the treatment locator website,” said Catherine Hines, Educational Services Assistant Senior for FindHelpNow Kentucky.

Hines said the Peer-to-Peer aspect of FindHelpNow is not just about the FindHelpNow platform, but providing technical assistance and strategies to help others create SUD treatment facility locator websites.

“It was really nice to have the support,” Schwartz said. “I had asked about how they built the website and what they put on the site. I asked about the search and how it was built. They were very helpful. Catherine has done a great job with any questions I have.”

Schwartz added the website took off thanks to the support she received. Building the site is always an ongoing process; she said the website can always be updated and edited.

Susan DeSalvo-Reed, Substance Use Disorder Program Coordinator for Adventist Health (location?), said the website has been helpful for not just community members, but health care providers.

“Rebecca developing this site is not just helping community members, but it is also affecting all the social workers, all of Adventist Health’s substance use navigators — those helping on the frontline to get people into recovery — and the different facilities around the region as one place to go to capture this information and look at the options,” she said. “Having that information at your fingertips and being able to access it is helpful on many levels.”

Since Adventist Health Clear Lake started using the website, nearly one in three patients has been bridged to a treatment facility, said DeSalvo-Reed.

“In our county, we went from zero help, no resources, to being able to bridge those patients and get them into recovery,” she said. “I feel the website has been valuable and an integral part.”

Adventist Health has purchased and plans to expand it to all the counties where it has clinics or facilities, according to DeSalvo-Reed.  

Jurisdictions interested in building a website similar to or using the FindHelpNow platform can reach out to Hines at

Hines and the FindHelpNow team have recently developed a needs assessment which they are able to share with interested folks.

“It helps the jurisdiction to get their wheels turning as far as what they’re going to need,” Hines said. “It also helps us at FindHelpNow figure out exactly where a jurisdiction is in the process. So if they need help because they don’t have stakeholder engagement from the right entities, such as behavioral health, that are essential partnerships, that needs assessment is able to provide them with a tailored strategy and where to go/what to do no to get this started.”

FindHelpNow Kentucky and its website were created by the University of Kentucky’s College of Public Health’s Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center (KIPRC), a bona fide agent for the Kentucky Department for Public Health, in partnership with the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, the Kentucky Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities, and the KY HELP Statewide Call Center.

The goal of FindHelpNow is to provide near real-time availability of treatment openings for substance use disorder (SUD) facilities across Kentucky. The user-friendly and easy-to-understand online referral-based intervention can improve clinical workflow and increase timely access to SUD treatment and information.