Imagine being unable to sleep for 10 years because of substance use disorder. This was a reality for my close friend, Gracie, and it was not apparent to anyone until she broke down and asked for help. Her doctor had been prescribing her ever-increasing amounts of Ambien, a commonly abused sedative. Unfortunately, her experience is all too common. 1 out of 50 people in the United States suffers from an addiction to sedatives. Most of them were first prescribed it by a doctor.
When Gracie came to me for help, she knew I worked with ALTAS. It was one of the reasons that she felt safe approaching me first out of our entire friend group. This was not her first time looking for treatment. She wanted to make sure that this time around it was successful. I was so grateful to be able to hold her hand and confidently tell her that I could help. That confidence came from knowing that ATLAS would show us high-quality treatment options that were tailored to her situation. ATLAS allowed us to search for treatment centers based on location, types of insurance accepted, and type and level of care provided. After 30 minutes, we found a place and called. She was admitted the next day for intensive inpatient treatment.
During my visits with her over FaceTime, I watched as she bloomed back into herself. She was laughing more, crying, getting angry, and experiencing every other human emotion her addiction had been preventing her from feeling. She was sleeping and dreaming again. When it was time to come home, I picked her up. An order of her favorite bagels and cream cheese was waiting for her in the front seat.
That was 5 months ago. Gracie is still living a healthy life and has started an art class where she is learning to paint flowers and trees. The program she found on ATLAS worked and she had her life back. However, I often think about the endless hours other people spend trying to find addiction treatment–and how many ultimately give up the search.
ATLAS is launching in more states in March. I know that ATLAS is going to help other people with substance use disorder like Gracie, and more friends like me. There is nothing like it, and I hope all people get the opportunity to use it to find the help they need.