Department of Human Services

New Jersey Continues Enhancing Addiction Treatment Efforts by Joining Treatment Resource Project

Free Online Tool Will Bolster Efforts Help Consumers Find Trusted and High-Quality Addiction Treatment Options Across New Jersey

June 8, 2021

(TRENTON)New Jersey Human Services Acting Commissioner Sarah Adelman announced today that New Jersey will be enhancing access to information about its addiction treatment options by joining a project that gives consumers an online reference guide to help those with a substance use disorder find the help they need.

Shatterproof, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to reversing the nation’s addiction crisis, is working with the Department of Human Services and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey to expand the reach of its free resource ATLAS to New Jersey. ATLAS stands for Addiction Treatment Locator, Assessment, and Standards platform.

“When someone decides to research addiction treatment for themselves or their loved ones, being empowered with the tools to make informed decisions can mean the difference between researching treatment and seeking it,” Acting Commissioner Adelman said. “We look forward to working with Shatterproof and Horizon to bring ATLAS to New Jersey. We know this will be a crucial tool in our collective fight against addiction.”

“Horizon is thrilled to be able to support the effort to bring Shatterproof’s ATLAS to New Jersey,” said Suzanne Kunis, Vice President of Behavioral Health for Horizon BCBSNJ. “A family in crisis, confronted with substance use, or worse, an overdose, shouldn’t have to guess when it comes to finding good care for their loved one.  The ATLAS Quality Measurement System will help our members understand what treatment they may need, and where to find the highest quality treatment to meet that need statewide and in their home communities.  This is long overdue. Our citizens should have information when they need it at their fingertips in the same way that they do when looking for the best available treatment for cardiac issues or cancer treatment.”

“It is now more critical than ever, given the profound uptick in overdoses and the impact that COVID-19 has had on addiction and mental health, that people are able to access a trusted, free resource when in search of quality substance use disorder treatment for themselves or a loved one,” says Jen Velez, Chief Impact Officer, Shatterproof. “Trust is everything.  We know that it can be a confusing, scary time when someone is seeking help, and we want to ensure that the information available to find quality care is trusted, unbiased, and meets the person’s needs.”

ATLAS is available in Delaware, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina and West Virginia, and is also expanding to Florida, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania.

ATLAS will bolster existing efforts by New Jersey to connect individuals and families to treatment through the 1-844-ReachNJ help line, which will continue.

ReachNJ is a 24-hour-a-day, 7 day-a-week addictions hotline where people who have substance use disorder or friends and family of people with SUD can get immediate assistance and support from live, New Jersey-based, trained addiction counselors. An individual who calls the toll-free number will reach a live staff member who will help to connect them to treatment, regardless of insurance status.

Building on the work of ReachNJ to provide information about treatment options, ATLAS evaluates addiction treatment providers’ use of evidence-based best practices, and publicly displays this information to support those in need and their loved ones in navigating to appropriate, quality care. 

On the ATLAS website, TreatmentATLAS.org, individuals can search for and compare treatment options using criteria that are important to them – such as location, particular services offered, and insurance accepted. ATLAS also allows patients to provide feedback on their treatment experience.

The platform displays information on all treatment providers for any substance use disorder in a state, including opioid use disorder, with greater than half voluntarily providing information on the services and practices they offer.

“This tool will add to our efforts and become another vital component of addiction treatment in New Jersey,” said Human Services Assistant Commissioner Mielke, who directs the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services. “The more data and feedback we can provide to the consumer about their options, the more informed their treatment decisions will be.”

This tool will help Human Services continue to build on its ongoing work to combat the opioid epidemic.

Those efforts include encouraging providers to offer medication-assisted treatment (MAT), removing prior authorization requirements for MAT, and funding Medicaid Centers of Excellence for opioid treatment.

Human Services has also worked during the pandemic to help residents access counseling and MAT, including issuing guidance to treatment programs on safe provision of medication, including take-home medication; making grants available to providers to support COVID-19 costs; continuing to promote 844-ReachNJ; and notifying providers about regional contracts to expand MAT availability throughout the state.

Human Services also continued to get the opioid overdose antidote naloxone into as many hands as possible, including distributing 64,000 free doses to residents at more than 300 pharmacies and giving more than 70,000 free naloxone doses to police, EMS, county mobile outreach units, homeless shelters, libraries and reentry organizations.

The ATLAS platform has many unique features:

·         Facilities’ use of best practices measured against Shatterproof National Principles of Care, evidence-based standards derived from the landmark 2016 Surgeon General’s Report on Addiction, and robust data gathered through a combination of validated sources;

·         Display of feedback from patients and family members, updated daily;

·         An Addiction Treatment Needs Assessment, created in collaboration with the subject matter expertise of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) and OpenBeds, to help guide the search based on an individual’s needs and severity;

·         Ability to search and filter using criteria such as location, services offered and insurance provider.

The ATLAS platform, www.TreatmentATLAS.org has seen more than 100,000 sessions since being launched in July 2020 and will be updated over the coming months to enhance the experience of those seeking treatment.

ATLAS 2021 enhancements include translation to Spanish, improved display of insurance information, integration of state resources, ability to search for facilities by name and updated educational content to increase readability. When the platform launches in New Jersey, it will feature all of these components.

The platform also offers secure access to critical data for state policymakers, providers, and insurance payers to further drive improvements to addiction treatment.

New Jerseyans will be able to use ATLAS to search for and compare treatment options starting in mid-2022.