INDIANAPOLIS — More than 100 people received referrals in the first month of a program linking Hoosiers with treatment for substance use disorders through the Indiana 211 system, said Dr. Jennifer Walthall, secretary of the Indiana Family and Social Service Administration.
The service, accessible by dialing 2-1-1 and online at www.IN211.org, links callers 24 hours a day with more than 70,000 social service agencies ranging from utility help to food assistance.
In March, Walthall announced the program would partner with OpenBeds to help Hoosiers find inpatient treatment for substance use disorders. Walthall said the program is to expand to include mental health services.
"Everybody knows what 9-1-1 is for but I suspect not a lot of people know what 2-1-1 is for. And what it is to me is to serve people, it's to help people, it's about government being there for them," Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch told about 50 attendees to a 211 forum held on Tuesday.
The Indiana General Assembly passed legislation supporting 211 that became effective July 1, 2004.
"I think one of the most telling things about how effective 211 is was when there was a HIV outbreak a few years ago. Who knew about it first? Indiana's 211," said State Rep. Sally Siegrist, R-West Lafayette, indicating the system received numerous calls for health and social services.
An analysis of 211 data from the last quarter of 2017, before the OpenBeds partnership was announced, shows that the service received 95,956 calls for assistance. Of those, 15,952 ended with the needs being unmet.
Single-parent families comprised 22 percent of the calls, said Sharon Kandris, associate director of the Polis Center of IUPUI.
Most of the requests met were for utility, food or community support help. Of the unmet, about 18 percent were for housing.