With a feeling of desperation and anxiety at not having been able to find help for her daughter, Karen conducted an Internet search and found a listing for the KY HELP Statewide Call Center.

Within hours of calling the toll-free number (1-8338-KY-HELP), the Screening and Referral Specialist who answered had connected Karen to a facility that could provide appropriate substance use treatment services for her daughter.

“You could actually feel the care that was given to me over the phone – the genuine care. I knew that I wasn’t left alone,” said Karen, a Hopkinsville resident who asked that her last name not be used. “That kind of service really calms a person’s nerves, especially when you feel like you are at the end of your rope and don’t know which way to go.”

“The Screening and Referral Specialist put me at ease and helped me do something I knew I couldn’t do for myself,” Karen added. “The care I got was just amazing.”

To better serve Kentuckians like Karen and her daughter, the KY HELP Statewide Call Center announced Monday, August 9, expanded time that staff is available during the week and the addition of weekend hours.

Staffed by Operation UNITE, the KY HELP Statewide Call Center provides personalized, compassionate assistance and resources to Kentuckians seeking help for a substance use disorder. Screening and Referral Specialists also offer comfort, support, and guidance to family members confronted with a loved one’s addiction.

New hours for the KY HELP Statewide Call Center are 8:30 am to 10 pm (EST) Monday through Friday, and 8:30 am to 5:30 pm (EST) on Saturdays and Sundays.

“Considering the rise in overdose rates, and the visible need demonstrated through the increasing call volume, we have worked diligently to implement the extension of our hours to meet the needs of all Kentuckians,” said Jamie Gilliam, Supervisor of the KY HELP Statewide Call Center. “The need for our services is great, and we are thankful for this opportunity to assist even more Kentuckians.”

More than 1,964 Kentuckians died from drug overdoses in 2020 – a 49% increase from 2019, according to a report by the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy released earlier this month.

In November 2017, the Kentucky Justice & Public Safety Cabinet, in partnership with Operation UNITE, established the KY HELP Statewide Call Center to connect people across the Commonwealth with drug treatment services. Staff began providing resources on December 1, 2017.

Callers will speak with a Screening and Referral Specialist who will conduct a brief screening assessment in order to recommend the most relevant treatment services as quickly as possible, noted Van Ingram, Executive Director of the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy.

“Options include everything from medication-assisted treatment to faith-based care,” Ingram noted. “The specialists will help callers work through all the variables, such as location and cost.”

If needed, the KY HELP Statewide Call Center can also provide crisis management and helps clients make informed decisions about treatment. Outreach services are provided for up to one year.

In addition to the toll-free number – 1-8338-KY-HELP (1-833-859-4357) – citizens seeking help may also receive help by texting “HOPE” to 96714 or via email to SWCC@centertech.com.