Kentucky Takes a Novel Approach to Fight the Opioid Crisis

Posted on by Terry Bunn, Director, Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center at the University of Kentucky, College of Public Health

A pile of prescription medicine bottles.

The opioid overdose epidemic is a public health emergency. The state of Kentucky has the third highest rate of drug overdose in the country. The website bridges a gap between Kentucky residents and timely access to substance use treatment facilities and services. It provides near real-time available openings at local area substance use disorder (SUD) facilities.

Tailoring treatment optionsUsing an innovative approach. Kentucky teens will take the lead in advertising Using federal funding, the team is running a challenge for high school students to produce campaign advertisements to promote the website and raise awareness about the risks of drug use. The top student-produced print, broadcast, billboard, and radio ads will be incorporated into the "Don't Let Them Die--Find Help Now KY" campaign.

You can use over 30 different search criteria on the website to find the right SUD treatment facility for your needs. These criteria include accepted insurance, gender identity, facility type (inpatient and outpatient treatment facilities etc.), and co-occurring treatment for mental health disorders. Over 500 SUD treatment facilities appear on the website who update their opening availability daily to facilitate rapid matching of individual treatment need with available treatment. The easy to use design of the landing page helps high-priority populations, like adolescents and pregnant women, find treatment options and availability.

Providing to Those in Need is running a promotional campaign during the summer of 2018 to:

  1. Raise awareness of the site as a valuable resource to quickly locate SUD treatment facilities with available openings. TV spots, radio ads, billboards, and digital media ads will run to reach primary audiences.
  2. Drive website traffic and use by:
    1. family and friends of individuals with SUDs, and individuals with SUDs (primary audiences); and
    2. health care providers including primary care providers and first responders (secondary audiences). The website is being promoted at physician association meetings, and physician pocket cards with SUD resources, including will be distributed
  3. Inform the public about SUD educational information available on FindHelpNowKYorg.

Measuring progress

Kentucky assessed the need for the website based on a physician focus group, Office of Drug Control Policy (ODCP) input, and community mental health centers’ feedback. These stakeholders helped identify the need for this website and the need for more timely access to SUD treatment. Metrics to measure success will include website analytics, surveys of SUD treatment providers, and average search time has had over 100,000 page views and over 26,000 unique searches from February 1, 2018- August 7, 2018.. Approximately 40% of website visits originated from social media, google searches, and referrals from other websites. Most users spent an average of 7.5 minutes on the website, suggesting that they were reading and engaged with the content. Visitors also ran 2-3 searches during their visits, indicating that they conducted unique searches based on differing search criteria.

Common searches also included seeking long-term residential or outpatient treatment facilities that accept Medicaid or Medicare. The FindHelpNow domain is being obtained by Kentucky so that interested states can use the FindHelpNow website platform with their respective state facility data in it.

Learn more

  • If you or a loved one requires assistance or information on SUD treatment and prevention topics contact the statewide hotline number 1-833-8KY-HELP
  • Kentucky Drug Overdose Prevention Program (
  • Don’t Let Them Die, The Governor of Kentucky’s communication campaign that seeks to raise awareness of the dangers of opioid use

We want to hear from you!

Leave a comment below about what your state is doing to combat the opioid overdose epidemic. This was developed by the Kentucky Drug Overdose Prevention Program at the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, at the University of Kentucky’s College of Public Health as bona fide agent for the Kentucky Department for Public Health. The project was a collaboration between the office of Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, and Justice and Public Safety Cabinet.

Funding for the website came from the CDC National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. was supported by Cooperative Agreement Number, 5 NU17CE002732-03, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Department of Health and Human Services.

Posted on by Terry Bunn, Director, Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center at the University of Kentucky, College of Public HealthTags , , , , , , , , , ,

2 comments on “Kentucky Takes a Novel Approach to Fight the Opioid Crisis”

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    I believe this is a great resource for people seeking addiction help. I went through the findhelpnowky website and was astonished to find so many facilities. I was, however, disappointed to notice that eastern Ky – Pikeville to be exact – had so few addiction recovery centers. There was a major drug bust including physicians and pharmacists in that area within the last month. With so many people addicted to drugs, especially ones prescribed by physicians, there is a need for more recovery centers. Drug abuse has skyrocketed over the years in Ky, and all over the US. I have seen firsthand the positive influence recovery centers have on addicts. As a nurse, I have witnessed the devastating effects drugs have on patients and patients who are going through with draw. I believe the people from eastern Ky would benefit greatly from more addiction recovery facilities.

    Hi Melissa. I agree with you on so many levels. I work for a mental health organization here in Colorado and we have many treatment options for opioid addiction. I am actually writing an essay on this topic right now and am required to blog about this topic. Anyway, I agree that physicians play the biggest role in the over-prescribing of opioids to their patients. The addiction treatments that we work within my organization have been proven to work but they have also failed with our clients. I believe that if there were stricter rules and guidelines for both physicians and patients this might help. According to Lyapustina and Alexander (2015). Physicians have reported that they feel intense pressure when treating pain. The reason they feel this way is because they are afraid of losing patients and getting lower ratings. To me this is sad.

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Page last reviewed: August 28, 2018
Page last updated: August 28, 2018