Because this is a time of year known for increases in depression and suicide attempts, the Georgia Council of Substance Abuse has created their own line to help individuals who struggle with substance abuse over the holidays.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for people to take advantage of, especially during the holidays,” said council Executive Director Neil Campbell. “I work with another reporter who was with Youth Today and he was working on a story of a young man named Corey who struggled with addiction and ended up in prison.”
Campbell said the Corey was released from prison at the age of 25 but because of his record, he was unable to find a job.
“Corey could not find a job, he could not hang out with his old friends because they all used drugs, things were not going his way, but long story short he overdosed and passed away,” Campbell said. “I was very upset when I heard this story of him passing because though. Why did he not have someone he could connect to?”
Campbell realized there are many hotlines for individuals who need help, but not for substance abuse.
“Rape Crisis has a hotline, anyone with depression has a number to call, even mental illness,” said Campbell. “Most 800 numbers are connected to treatment programs but what if you just need to have a hope talk where someone can motivate you to get through a rough time.”
Campbell wrote a proposal and submitted the idea to the state, which agreed to fund a “warm line.”
“Corey’s mother then heard about the warm line and showed up to the office the first day we launched the line, and she handed us a photo of Corey. She said Corey was one to always help other people and be a giver.”
The line uses “radical listening” because it is not a treatment hotline, just a line through which people can listen and talk to someone.
“The line is for anyone who needs to talk to someone,” Campbell said. “If you need hope or encouragement, or even if you are just lonely. We really believe that the opposite of addiction is human connection.”
Campbell said the Georgia Council of Substance Abuse is also a resource for families, not just individuals.
“Family members, significant others or allies, they can call too. My big vision for down the road is to have family members answering the phone too because they have experienced recovery.”
Campbell said The CARES Warm Line is a peer-operated, non-emergency telephone support service provided in partnership with the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities.
Telephone lines will be open 8:30 a.m. until 11 p.m and the services are free and all information will remain confidential.
“The CARES Warm Line is not a crisis line so if someone is experiencing an emergency, they will be referred directly to the Georgia Crisis and Access Line which is 1-800-715-4225. Even with the holidays, not everyone has someone they can talk to so we home the warm line helps.”