Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that New Yorkers can now contact the New York State HOPEline addiction referral and support service by texting 1-877-8-HOPENY. The HOPEline is a free and confidential 24-hour service that connects people who are struggling with substance abuse and problem gambling to specially-trained behavioral health professionals for assistance in times of need.
“This new feature will make it even easier for those struggling with addiction to get the help and support they need,” Governor Cuomo said. “I encourage anyone who may be dealing with substance or gambling addiction to reach out to us today and let us help them build a safer and healthier future.”
By texting 1-877-8-HOPENY, individuals can get help connecting with a treatment provider in their community as well as across the state, and obtain resources and information about substance use disorders and problem gambling. The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) has contracted with the Mental Health Association of New York City (MHA-NYC) to expand existing HOPEline services to include this texting feature.
MHA-NYC President and Chief Executive Officer Giselle Stolper said: “For many years, MHA-NYC has been utilizing ground-breaking technology to give people access to help wherever and whenever they need it. This enhancement to the HOPEline service gives young people and their families, and all New Yorkers, an important new communications tool which can directly link them to life-changing services and put them on their way to recovery.”
In 2014, the HOPEline received nearly 30,000 calls and made nearly 9,000 outbound follow-up calls. The HOPEline currently handles nearly 2,700 calls monthly. The HOPENY texting service is expected to handle nearly 5,000 text messages per year.
Parents, caregivers, and others who are seeking help for a loved one or someone they know with an addiction problem can also text or call the HOPEline.
The HOPENY text line service will provide confidential support via text message to New Yorkers who seek information on the risks associated with alcohol and opioid abuse, how to recognize signs of addiction, and how to connect to additional resources and information. HOPENY professionals offer supportive listening, risk assessment, motivational interviewing, crisis de-escalation, safety planning, and connecting New Yorkers with Emergency Medical Services when an imminent health risk is identified, in addition to their primary function of providing referrals to services.
This expansion of the HOPEline will help address the rise in heroin and prescription opioid abuse, which continues to be a persistent national problem that is also reaching deep into communities across New York and is heavily affecting young adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 25,000 people nationwide died in 2013 from overdoses involving prescription painkillers or heroin. In 2014, there were more than 118,000 admissions into New York State-certified treatment programs for heroin and prescription opioid abuse – a 17.8 percent increase over 2009. The largest increase in opioid admissions during that time was among 18- to 34-year-olds.
“By enhancing the HOPEline service with the capacity to provide text message support, the HOPEline will be able to reach even more New Yorkers, especially young people, who increasingly rely on text messaging as their primary means of communication,” said OASAS Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez. “As we see the rise of prescription opioid abuse and heroin abuse continue to affect young people and adults across our state, it is vitally important that New Yorkers can easily text HOPENY or call the HOPEline to find addiction treatment services. With treatment, recovery from addiction is not only possible, it can be a reality.”
Governor Cuomo has made this issue a priority and implemented aggressive measures to help New Yorkers address heroin addiction and prescription opioid abuse. The Governor launched the #CombatHeroin campaign in September 2014 to inform and educate New Yorkers about the risks of heroin and prescription opioid use, the warning signs of addiction, and the resources available to help. Additionally, the Governor has expanded efforts to offer naloxone anti-opioid overdose medication training in areas all across the state. Approximately 55,000 New Yorkers are now trained to properly deliver naloxone in an emergency and more than 1,500 lives have been saved.
To reach the State’s HOPEline 24-hour, confidential help line text or call: 1-877-8-HOPENY. Your phone service plan’s standard texting rates will apply. Starting in July, New Yorkers can also reach the HOPEline by texting the short code HOPENY (467369).