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Network Matters
News and Information for the
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Network

April 2019

Alcohol and Drug Use Disorder: Treatment and Helpful Resources


Abuse of alcohol and drugs is a challenging and far-reaching problem, exacerbated by the fact that patients and their loved ones often do not know where to begin in addressing it — or even how to start the conversation. Harvard Pilgrim wants to support providers and their patients with tools that aid in patient education and effective coordination of care between providers involved in the treatment of a common patient who demonstrates signs of alcohol or drug use disorder.

Helpful resources for your patients

Harvard Pilgrim encourages providers to direct patients who may struggle with alcohol or drugs and/or their families to Optum/UBH’s Substance Use Treatment Helpline at 855-780-5955. This confidential service — which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and provided at no added cost to members — features education on appropriate treatment options, coverage, cost of care, and more, as well as highly personalized attention from substance abuse treatment advocates (specialized licensed clinicians). Also available is an online help and support page at https://liveandworkwell.com/recovery, where your patients can find the answers to many frequently asked questions and links to numerous substance use topics.

Additionally, Harvard Pilgrim and Optum/UBH have published several materials for providers to share with patients and their families. The materials, which can be found in the “Patient Education Handouts” section of our provider website, offer information about warning signs, treatment programs for substance use disorders, and resources for guidance and support. Of particular note, the recently updated “When Does Using Become Abusing?” flyer linked in this section provides a helpful checklist for patients to review when determining whether they may be at risk for a substance use disorder, including binge drinking. It also offers information about how abusing prescribed pain medication can escalate into a serious addiction, and how to anonymously begin to seek treatment for a substance use disorder if the checklist indicates that you may have one.

Resources for providers

Optum/UBH (Harvard Pilgrim’s behavioral health partner) can help with referrals for outpatient behavioral health services by locating in-network services — including chemical dependency services and providers of specialized treatments — as well as practitioners to provide initial screening evaluations and, if needed, subsequent psychological or neuropsychological testing referrals.

To refer a patient for behavioral health services, call Optum at 888-777-4742.

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