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Statewide addiction support call center opens earlier to answer more calls

Operation UNITE, KY HELP

Substance abuse counselors in Kentucky said they hope to help more people through new, extended, hours.

KY HELP is a statewide addiction support call center staffed through Operation UNITE. Officials said they have extended weekday hours and will now have people on hand to answer calls starting at 7 a.m.

Jamie Gilliam is the Director of the KY HELP Call center, she said it’s important to help people with substance use disorders as soon as they decide they’re ready.

“Most of us that work in the treatment field know that if someone is ready to go to treatment and, for whatever reason, it’s not able to be made happen quickly then often you lose them. Because the next day or the following day they may not be willing anymore.”

Gilliam said the call center offers help to people in active addiction as well as their family members who may be trying to secure treatment for them.

Since its opening in 2017, the center has received over 24,000 calls and has made more than 53,000 follow-up inquiries. The call center tries to connect individuals with relevant treatment methods immediately after a call is made. Gilliam said the new 90-minute expansion will allow them to answer more Kentuckians with substance use disorders than previously possible.

“We kind of dug in and looked at the data of the timeframe when we were receiving the most missed calls outside of our hours of operation and surprisingly it was from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. So that was where we decided to make the expansion.”

The call center’s hours for Saturday and Sunday will remain from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.