Tackling the Opioid Epidemic One Text at a Time

Text Hotlines Are Helping Connect More People to Critical Addiction Resources!

Now addiction hotlines are helping individuals and their friends and family by making resources more accessible. These hotlines are assisting individuals by also offering the same support and access via the privacy of SMS text messaging. For example, if an individual cannot make a phone call (for whatever reason) he or she can also text a different number that’s posted on the help hotline’s website.  Once connected with the agent/counselor, they can text back and forth to obtain the information/referrals for inpatient/outpatient detox and/or treatment/counseling.  By offering the same help through two-way “textchat” dialogue, more individuals who are not ready to “talk” or find it difficult to discuss their addiction over the phone, are opening up and asking for help via the same function they use every day – text messaging. Addiction Text Lines have already helped thousands of individuals and  their friends/families find the support and treatment options most appropriate for their addiction.

Text Hotlines can provide 24/7 anonymous text-communication to individuals of all ages, needing immediate mental health assistance for themselves or for a friend or family member.  According to Pew Research, the average American now uses text more than any other function on their device – more than calls, email, and social media combined. Individuals needing help can send a text to the helpline, (in the case of 211s that are offering addiction support services, they can simply text their zip code to 898211) to get immediate, live help.  Research also shows that the perceived privacy of text helps individuals open up more readily and feel more secure “talking” about the emotional crisis they’re facing.

The Opioid Text Program as an On-Ramp to Live Support!

And with new programs like the “Opioid Text Program” 211 can provide fully automated, vetted referrals (curated directly out of their databases) and then live help for discussing the concerns the individual may have or feel about asking for help. Using the Opioid Text Program (now available in several states) as an on-ramp to help, is changing how individuals seek help for themselves or a loved one. Learn more about how a unique fusion of automation and live help is transforming the help-seeking paradigm! READ MORE

Live Help Can Be Reinforced With Creative, Well-Timed Follow-up Texts and Quality Assurance Surveys!

When the addiction hotline is in two-way dialogue, the agent/counselor can trigger tailored followup texts so the live help portion, is longitudinal rather than an isolated event, which is more often than not the case, with telephone voice support. Research shows that text offers a perceived element of privacy, where additional, well-timed supportive messages are far less intrusive than a phone call.

Planting seeds of hope, with educational/resources stitched into the text messages, have been shown to modify behavior over time, and increase help-seeking. [1]

Check-in texts (aka nudge texts) can reinforce the live help, so that the first dialogue is merely a starting point rather than an end. Once they’re past the most difficult obstacle, asking for help, soft, well sequenced text message “nudges” can help to motivate the individual to cross that final bridge, and act on those referrals to treatment/counseling. And if text is the one channel that makes them comfortable enough, to make that choice, then it follows that every addiction help hotline should also provide the same levels of support through an enterprise text line solution.

Want more info about how to set up an Addiction Text Hotline/Helpline?  Email info@preventionpaystext.com

We also specialize in SMS text helplines for Information and Referral providers as well as text hotlines/helplines for crisis support services and suicide prevention programs. Additionally, we are powering several Text Lines that service victims of domestic violence and rape/sexual assault.  Regardless of the priority group, if you need to setup carrier grade text message based live help, we will help with the design and deployment, including web-based training with recorded sessions for ongoing learning objectives and workshops. Powering many of the nation’s largest and oldest text lines since 2008.

Are you seeking more info or would like to deploy the Opioid Text Program in your community?  Send your inquiries to:  OpioidText@USTXT211.org

Have You Seen the Email from AIRS?

Text allows I&Rs to explore innovative opportunities to push information and messages out to clients within seconds (think disaster, think public health, think appointments).
— clive jones, AIRS

You’ve probably seen or heard a reference to the email from AIRS called “It Is No Longer All About the Calls…”

The ideas expressed in the email mark a significant shift in the way AIRS members communicate with their clients. With the rapid growth of text across all demographics (Americans under 55 text more than they talk on the phone and email) this is also an important time to learn about the crucial role of texting and how to differentiate between services and capacity. 

In fact, here at PreventionPays we are hyper-focused on making the platform more useful to contact centers. To further demonstrate our commitment to the AIRS sector, PreventionPays Text has partnered with AIRS to bring members a significant cost reduction in the standard I&R package!  Read more about our partnership with AIRS by going here: http://www.preventionpaystext.com/airs-ems-specialoffer/

Join us in an upcoming webinar or schedule a live demo today by going to:  http://www.preventionpaystext.com/contact/

If you haven’t seen the AIRS email, here it is in its entirety:

Is your I&R service answering fewer calls than two years ago?

Maybe that question reads hollow as your I&R phones seldom stop ringing but even if you are struggling to handle existing demand without more staff … there is still a fair chance that fewer calls are coming in, even if you still can’t answer them all …

However, we do know that for many I&Rs, decreasing call volume is a discernible pattern. And this should not be surprising as it reflects the reality of changing demographics and personal preferences that has been widely predicted within I&R circles.

Economic improvements might be one factor but what we are seeing is the continued shift to web-based assistance and the use of Chat and Text. Put crudely, every year at one end of the age spectrum, a percentage of I&R clients who prefer the telephone leaves our active market and are replaced at the other end of the spectrum, by I&R clients who use voice interactions far less. And as for the folks between those extremes – people like you and me – to varying degrees, phoning has become what you do when you don’t have other options.

This is something that we all know and within I&R, we need to keep translating this knowledge into actions.

This is far from a complete list of the enhancements, improvements and opportunities that make up everyone's I&R to-do list. But it is a snapshot of what every I&R should be looking at...


  • It needs to be promoted as much as your phone number.
  • If there is an online resource database, it should be easily found (i.e. your website either opens up on the database or it is the most central and most visible click on the page).  
  • Your online database should not look like a database. It should use graphic guided searches geared to the most common needs of your community.
  • You should also add extensive meta-tags to ensure it shows up in relevant Google searches
  • And it must be mobile friendly

Online Chat

  • You need to have it available or be moving quickly towards it.
  • Many I&Rs have introduced Chat over the past 2-3 years (while some have been offering it for 5+ years). Chat is being used by all ages and all sectors. ADRCs that offer Chat find it being used by clients with disabilities and by caregivers.
  • The number of I&R Chats is increasing exponentially every year.


  • This is the next growth area for I&R coverage.
  • One 2-1-1 launched Text service early this year and now handles more than 1,500 text inquiries a month.
  • Text allows I&Rs to explore innovative opportunities to push information and messages out to clients within seconds (think disaster, think public health, think appointments).
  • Logically, the use of Text skews to lower income individuals (people who only have mobiles and where Text usage is the cheaper option).

Here is some information from the commercial world to consider … Texting to Surpass Phone Calls for Business Communication … and … Can I Text Your Call Center … and from a different angle, this is from Innovations for Poverty Action … and this on the ‘Art and Science of Reminders’ (and could this seem to signal a potentially new dimension to I&R follow-up?! – some I&Rs are already exploring variations of this for income tax programs).

Essentially, we need to continue to provide communities with I&R services that meet everyone’s current and future preferences.

In case you missed them the first time around, here is an AIRS website self-assessment template and an AIRS guide to providing online Chat. Going on the AIRS Networker and entering “Text” into the main search box will bring up a number of discussion threads on this topic that have been part of an active dialogue over the past year.


PreventionPays is Offering Big Discounts to AIRS Members for I&R Text Services!

We proudly announce EMS is bringing PreventionPays Text to AIRS members at a discount!  EMS has always seen tremendous value in maintaining a strong and enduring relationship with AIRS.  As the leading network for I&R support, provisioning, and certification/training protocols, a discount to AIRS members represents a unique opportunity for EMS to increase growth among a cohort of service providers that EMS sees as “high value,” where I&Rs use the texting platform in ways highly consistent with how the system was developed enabling AIRS members to maximize impact with the communities they serve. 

The PreventionPays Platform is a leading service for texting and I&R and provides value not only in the immediate future, but in the long term; as AIRS members purchase services on the PreventionPays platform, I&R services will improve reach and increase efficiencies by adding the sms channel!  Enterprise Short Code Texting is the premiere service model in mobile communications offering I&R providers standards of service that competing products and platforms simply do not support. 

We look forward to being of service to the I&R sector!  

PreventionPays Text integrates seamlessly with any I&R! Amazing service. Superb support!
— Heart of Florida United Way 2-1-1
We spent a very long time preparing for texting. We knew it was coming and we wanted to be prepared.... Their customer care goes beyond IT support. They helped us launch.
— 2-1-1info, Portland Oregon
Modern young man with mobile phone in the street.
Proud members and supporters of the AIRS network!

Proud members and supporters of the AIRS network!