NJ 2-1-1 Has Responded to 6,000 Calls to Hotline in 2014

East Hanover, NJ - The NJ 2-1-1 Addictions Hotline, a public/private partnership with the United Ways of NJ and the NJ Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), which launched in November 2010, continues to assist New Jersey residents and their families by providing free, personal assistance to anyone trying to navigate the health and human services system, government assistance programs, and local community resources to support individuals and families with substance abuse. So far in 2014, NJ 2-1-1 has responded to over 6,000 calls to the hotline.

NJ 2-1-1 is the free, user-friendly phone number that serves 90% of America's population, and connects some 16 million people a year to critical resources, information and services. In New Jersey, more than 210,000 people turned to 2-1-1 for help last year.  Resources for addiction services and all other needs are also accessible from every page of the 2-1-1 website http://www.nj211.org.  Users can simply type in the words "Addiction" in the search bar (found in the center of the Home page and in the upper right-hand corner of every other page on the site) and click on "Search Now" to initiate a search for the appropriate agencies and services in their community.

The NJ 2-1-1 Addictions Hotline services are accessible to callers 24 hours a day throughout the year including weekends and holidays. Staffed by professionals who have been trained in addiction services and able to offer compassionate guidance, this hotline provides callers with a dependable first-step towards recovery. Call protocol begins with respecting the caller's right to choose, and attending to the immediate needs of the caller. Callers are taken through two screening tools to evaluate their individual needs and an income eligibility assessment is made to assist in targeting the best services.  All DMHAS agencies that the hotline refers to are licensed/certified/approved providers in the state.

“Callers receive up to date information from credentialed staff and licensed supervisors,” notes Laura Zink Marx, Executive Director NJ 2-1-1 Partnership. “Call specialists who field the majority of the calls are required Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC). Supervisors of call specialists maintain a professional license (LPC, LCSW, LRC, etc.) in addition to a Master's Degree in the field of human services.  Many of the evening and weekend staff also maintain full time jobs in treatment facilities allowing for a sharing of trends and new services among our staff.”

The NJ 2-1-1 Addictions Hotline is geared to providing enhanced services to those people who struggle with addictions and promote an increased positive recovery for those entering treatment.

There are two ways to reach the 2-1-1 Addictions Hotline:

• Direct dial of 2-1-1 from any phone in the state of New Jersey (follow the auto attendant prompt #22, or ask to be transferred to the Addictions Hotline)

• Call the current active Hotline number: 800-238-2333 which will connect you with the Addictions Hotline call specialist.  

Often callers need assistance with other services as well. NJ 2-1-1 Addictions Hotline staff has access to the full 2-1-1 database which provides information on over 13,000 resources in the state and can provide referrals to help with a multitude of human service needs - everything from questions about child care to transportation to utility assistance, housing, employment, temporary hardships, etc.

Follow-up calls are regularly made to determine if the caller made a successful connection with the service provider or if there are other needs to address: such as advocacy, barriers to treatment (child care, transportation, etc.), and/or additional support.

United Ways have been long-standing supporters and the national leader of the 2-1-1 movement in Partnership with AIRS (Alliance of Information and Referral Services).  As the largest private funder of the 2-1-1 network, the United Ways of New Jersey, in partnership with the State of NJ continue to strengthen and support 2-1-1 as another way to build stronger communities in our state and to create opportunities for all.