Need help for drug addiction right now and don’t know where to turn?

There soon may be an app for that.

Akron-based FI Community Housing has partnered with a recovery center and hospital system in Huron County and Dharma.ai, a data-management company, to launch “No-Wrong-Door Placement Accelerator.”

The app connects users to public and private recovery providers that show available services in real time — from detox beds and recovery housing to private medical practices that serve rural areas and outpatient services, said Denny Wilson, co-founder of FI Community Housing.

“This cuts the time between when someone wants help and when they can find it … and that will prevent people from starting to use again in those minutes or hours,” Wilson said. “There’s nothing like it in the world.”

No-Wrong-Door is 95 percent ready, Wilson said.

The partnership is now reaching out to addiction services providers who want to be included and who are willing to update their available services daily.

Wilson said they expect to roll out the app to the public in September.

It is aimed at addicts, but also at those who love them and police, first responders, courts, hospital emergency rooms and others trying to find immediate help for those in crisis.

In Ohio, 85 percent of people misusing or addicted to drugs don’t have access to the care they need, according to Katie Chieda, senior vice president of clinical services at Fisher-Titus Medical Center, the Huron County hospital system that’s part of the app development group.

“This startling statistic, along with Ohio ranking among the top five states in the nation for addiction-related problems, prompted this unique idea for a technology-based solution,” she said.

Recovering addict Michael Pack came up with the idea a few years ago.

He now directs the Huron County Peer Recovery Community Center in Norwalk, which opened in December. Pack said he first thought of the concept in 2014. The next year a friend’s 18-year-old daughter in Marion County became the first person to die of a fentanyl overdose in Ohio, launching Pack on a mission to help.

He said Friday that he has destroyed five Dodge Neons crisscrossing the state to find recovery resources for people, petitioning the governor and working with others on solutions.

“I realized we had the resources we need, but we needed a way to connect them to those who needed them,” Pack said.

“Within minutes of wanting help and not finding it,” he added, “addicts may seek out another hit to feed their addiction.”

With the No-Wrong-Door app, users not only can find open beds and services, but payer information, operating hours and transportation resources and other information to accelerate acceptance and placement.

Many uses

Pack envisions many who aren’t seeking help for themselves or their loved one using No-Wrong-Door app, such as:

• First responders or police could find an open detox or mental health bed for patients with methamphetamine-induced psychosis instead of taking the person to a hospital or jail.

• Businesses that discover an employee has addiction would know immediately where to send the employee for help.

• Rural doctors, many with no treatment options in their counties, could find facilities for patients and know what services they provide.

Wilson said the app is encrypted and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act compliant, making it safe for both consumers and health care professionals to use.

For Ohioans

No-Wrong-Door initially will serve only Ohio. Developers are submitting it to the state’s Opioid Technology Challenge, which ultimately will award $20 million to groups that come up with tech-based solutions to stem the Buckeye State’s opiate crisis.

Ultimately it could become a nationwide resource, Akron’s Wilson said, adding there is interest stretching from Virginia to California.

The Washington, D.C.-based tech firm Dharma.ai hasn’t charged the group anything for developing No-Wrong-Door, Wilson said.

“Dharma.ai is founded on the idea that good data can save lives,” CEO of the company Stefan Nagey said in a statement. Wilson anticipated the app being free to users and recovery services providers, but said providers later may be charged to sustain the cost of maintaining the app.

He said the group has just started reaching out to providers, including Summa Health, to join the app. Any providers interested also can reach out to the people putting together the No-Wrong-Door app through Chieda at Fisher-Titus Medical Center.

Overdoses decrease

Drug overdoses in Summit County have dropped this year compared to 2016 and 2017.

The most recent report from Summit County Public Health shows that 31 residents sought emergency room help after overdosing from June 15-21. Men made up 64.5 percent of the overdoses that happened among people living in 18 Summit County ZIP codes. The average age of all of those treated was 37.7.

Some credit part of the decline with increased local treatment options and other efforts, but there’s also a change in the opioid crisis.

“A lot of addicts are scared to use heroin because it’s not heroin anymore,” Pack said.

Many street dealers in Summit County and elsewhere are substituting the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl for heroin because it’s so much more profitable.

Users fearing a fatal overdose have turned to methamphetamine instead, a drug that has flooded Ohio through Mexican cartels.

The move toward meth, however, doesn’t change the need for recovery, Pack said.

“You cannot fight the drug of choice. People will use what’s cheap and what’s available,” Pack said. “But you can put recovery resources in the community and help people find them.

Amanda Garrett can be reached at 330-996-3725 or agarrett@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @agarrettABJ.