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INDIANAPOLIS — An innovative tool to connect Hoosiers seeking treatment for substance use disorder with providers who have available inpatient or outpatient slots launched Thursday through the Indiana 2-1-1 referral network.

The OpenBeds platform is intended to get drug-dependent individuals into treatment as soon as they realize they need it, as well as provide wraparound services, such as food or housing assistance, while they deal with their addiction issues.

"We know that substance use disorder is not isolated, that it's embedded in other social needs," said Dr. Jennifer Walthall, secretary of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration.

Hoosiers needing drug addiction treatment can access OpenBeds through health care providers connected to the system, or by calling 2-1-1.

The system displays a nearly real-time listing of facilities with available treatment slots, grouped by location, payment options, accepted health insurance, type of addiction and whether services are available for pregnant women or new mothers.

Steve Carroll, OpenBeds chief business development officer, explained the system saves health providers time that they previously had to spend calling around to different treatment facilities to see if they had the capacity to accept a new patient.

Using OpenBeds, a provider can view all the available treatment slots and almost immediately book a patient into the facility best suited to meet his or her needs, he said.

Indiana Drug Czar Jim McClelland believes OpenBeds is a "unique, creative development that is going to greatly help increase timely access to treatment, and other services, while also enabling us to more fully utilize the treatment capacity that does exist throughout the state."

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb is confident that the partnership between Indiana, OpenBeds and 2-1-1 will be a "practical, useful tool in our state's attack on the drug crisis."

Indiana is spending $325,000 from a $10.9 million federal drug prevention grant to pay for OpenBeds through mid-March 2019.

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Dan is Statehouse Bureau Chief for The Times. Since 2009, he's reported on Indiana government and politics — and how both impact the Region — from the state capital in Indianapolis. He originally is from Orland Park, Ill.