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Addiction recovery hotline marks one-year anniversary

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and the United Way of Wisconsin, say 5,594 people contacted the Wisconsin Addiction Recovery Helpline during its first year of operation. The helpline began taking calls Oct. 22, 2018.

The free and confidential service is managed by 211 Wisconsin, under a contract with the DHS. It connects individuals seeking help for challenges with alcohol, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, methamphetamine, prescription painkillers and other drugs, for themselves or a loved one.

“Too often, people delay seeking treatment for a substance use challenge, simply because they don’t know where to begin,” said DHS secretary-designee Andrea Palm. “The Wisconsin Addiction Recovery Helpline is a good first step toward treatment and recovery.”

The helpline is available statewide, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by calling 211 or 833-944-4673. People who may not be comfortable speaking directly to an operator, can text their zip code to 898211, or use the live chat option at

“Our operators are trained to listen to the needs of the caller, and help them understand what services and supports may best address their situation,” said Charlene Mouille, executive director for the United Way of Wisconsin, the agency that oversees 211 Wisconsin. “We can also help callers find the best option for their financial situation. Concerns over ability to pay should not prevent anyone from seeking help.”

Operators facilitated 11,940 referrals in the first year, with assessment, detoxification and residential treatment services, the most referred resources. People can call the helpline more than once and can be referred to more than one service.

The helpline database includes information on 2,311 agencies in Wisconsin, offering 5,357 different addiction treatment and recovery programs, including crisis services, detoxification services, assessment, counseling, day treatment, inpatient services, medication-assisted treatment, residential treatment, outpatient services and peer supports.

Operators also have access to 211 Wisconsin’s database of thousands of community resources, to help the caller address other health, social and financial needs.