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

Tackling the Opioid Crisis with the Simplicity of SMS Text!

This project (in many forms) is being piloted at various health and human service agencies (211, I&R and community impact programs) and we're very excited about how much impact this can/will have!  This project was fundamentally designed to offer the very best of PreventionPays including options for live, two-way support, and integration with your CRM (Client Resource Management Solution), so that, as referrals are identified within your CRM, they can be automatically extracted from there and sent to the end user's mobile device and this is completely seamless to the end user!  If you don't use a CRM and simply want to partner with agencies that do, please reach out! We want to hear from you! There are many layers to this work and will require partnerships across all sectors of the help-seeking ecosystem.  This project will provide addresses/links to the most current, vetted resources in closest proximity to the individual's mobile device! 

Are you interested in partnering with an agency from your local community? Email info@preventionpaystext.com and in the subject line, send "Opioid Text Project"!


1. Reduce harm/death from opioid/drug addiction!

Outcomes will be tracked and self-evident through the follow-up work with individuals that text the service.


10% of the population in the target zone text the helpline.

50% of those that seek help, will follow through with the resources/help.

50% of those that follow through with the help will report they continue to receive ongoing support with meetings and other suggestions (as identified by the partner agencies and content curators).

The project is two-fold: marketing website updates/banners/messages/PSAs/Press Release/Local News and the text message program/sms mapping and opt-in protocols


Web banners for partner, community agency websites

School-based programs work really well; posters, brochures, take-away cards strategically placed in public/private spaces will encourage use of the text program.

Add posters and take-away cards in schools and community venues at little to no cost!

Text Module:

End user texts keyword to short code to begin automated Q&A to obtain end users' risk level and then provide end user with recs for treatment/support. (support also available for friends and family so that everyone in the community can gain something from texting the service! We are all impacted by addiction.

End user will get an automated survey querying for zip, county, age of individual that is seeking help.

End user will select whether they need long-term care w/ detox or short term care w/ detox or detox only.

This will trigger referrals to resources that are closest to them according to their need.

After the referrals are delivered, there is a follow-up text letting them know they can call 211 or text their zip code for more support.

5-7 days later:  You requested help with “short-term care w/ detox” for yourself or a loved one. Did you find the information helpful? 

Did you or your loved one enter treatment?

Please remember, 211 (or named agency) is here for you! if you need more assistance or would like to talk with someone at 211, please call 211 or text your zip code at any time.

Then, one week later: We’re thinking about you! We know seeking help for yourself is an emotional and difficult matter. We want to help. 

If you want someone to talk to, call us or just text us and you’ll get a live response from one of our call specialists!

Then, 1-2 weeks later survey:

Did you make contact with the help you were given?

yes responses

Would you like a list of AA meetings for your area?  Per request send additional tips/resources and statements of encouragement/hope etc. 

no responses

Are you still looking for help with short-term care plus detox?

yes responses

Set a time to call or text with a Specialist

no responses

Please make sure to check with us. We realize there are several barriers to getting help. Please call us or text us so we can help you.


The survey data and outcome data will be prepared in a formal document to be shared with participating agencies and funders. 

Project aims and protocols will be published for replication/uses in other regions/states.

Goal:  Reduce harm and cultivate better health outcomes! Present this project at conferences!

Interested in learning more about this project and others like it? email opioidtext@ustxt211.org

Want to partner? email opioidtext@ustxt211.org