211 Launches Opioid Crisis Referral Program

July 22, 2021, by Ashley

United Way of Southwest Louisiana’s 211 System Working with Louisiana Department of Health to Connect Individuals with Help

LAKE CHARLES, LA, July 22 – United Way of Southwest Louisiana’s 211 Referral Line is partnering with the Louisiana Department of Health to connect community members affected by opioid abuse with help and resources. Calling 211 or texting the keyword OPIOID to 898-211 allows those in need to work with 211’s specialists to find local resources 24/7/365.

“United Way of Southwest Louisiana updates the resource database in 211 around the clock,” explains Denise Durel, President and CEO of United Way of Southwest Louisiana. “This makes 211 the perfect vehicle to assist Governor Edwards with the third part of his Opioid Response Plan where he wants to increase access to treatment services for those suffering from this national health crisis.”

In Calcasieu Parish alone, providers write 71.3 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons, compared to the U.S. average rate of 46.7 prescriptions. Nearly 40% of Louisiana’s 1,140 drug overdose deaths in 2018 were attributed to opioids.

“Healthcare is important for everyone in our community and the opioid crisis is a healthcare crisis that does not discriminate. In our work, we see it tear families apart and destroy lives of all types of people no matter their age, race or status in society,” says Durel. “211 can help someone take that first step of asking for help. Specialists are trained to assist them and they’re not there to judge. We hope people will take this step and help their families move forward by finding the right resources.”

Texting OPIOID to 898-211 or calling 211 gives individuals information about local services in or near their zip code for detox, treatment and other supportive services with the ability to opt-in for live crisis intervention text support.

211 can assist callers with information and local resources for most needs including food, disaster assistance, crisis counseling, healthcare or job training.

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About United Way of Southwest Louisiana

Working with the community and many partners for 81 years, United Way of Southwest Louisiana tackles the critical human services issues facing our five-parish footprint of Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron and Jeff Davis. Our United approach is changing the odds for all children, families and individuals in the community, so that we all have the opportunity to succeed. Learn more about our life-changing work at Unitedwayswla.org and follow us on social media @UnitedWayofSWLA

- Operating in the TOP 9% of all U.S. United Ways. –TOP 125 out of 1300 United Ways!
- Maintains a 4-STAR charity rating with Charity Navigator and a PLATINUM SEAL OF TRANSPARENCY with GuideStar