The national government website designed to help people find addiction treatment contains inaccurate and outdated information, addiction experts tell Kaiser Health News.
Findtreatment.gov, run by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), was launched in 2019. It has information about more than 13,000 state-licensed treatment facilities, including what types of services are provided, which insurance plans the facilities accept and what ages they serve.
Addiction experts say the site providers better information than a Google search of “addiction treatment near me,” which could point people to potentially predatory marketers. But the SAMHSA site is not providing enough good-quality information, according to Dr. Cara Poland, an addiction medicine doctor and an assistant professor in women’s health at Michigan State University. “It’s scary, because if you go to use the site, it’s got invalid information,” Poland said. “People give up if they can’t find treatment. And we risk losing a life. It’s being treated as a gold-standard tool, but it’s not.”
According to SAMHSA spokesperson Christopher Garrett, the agency “endeavors to keep the [tools] current.” If SAMHSA is told about outdated information, the agency acts on it. Updates are made weekly, Garrett said, adding the agency surveys facilities annually and uses the responses to update the website.