An independent news publication of
United Way of Lancaster County


New Web Chat Offers Addiction Help in a Hurry

The Addiction Resource Center at Compass Mark is adapting to reach out in new ways to the communities we serve. This week marks the rollout of a website chat feature on so that the public can interact with our Information & Referral team quickly and anonymously. The web chat icon can be found at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen on most pages, and is intended to allow people to ask questions about addiction treatment and recovery options in Lancaster, Lebanon and Chester Counties as they browse.

The chat feature is supported by a Lancaster Cares (COVID-19) Response Fund grant from the United Way of Lancaster County and the Lancaster County Community Foundation, which has also covered telephone capacity upgrades. Compass Mark is thankful for this funding, which allow us to interact virtually in this time of pandemic and into the future. Anecdotally, addiction treatment admissions and support group attendance were down over the past few months, even though the number of people struggling with alcoholother drugs, or gambling has risen. Treatment admissions are starting to rise again, which parallels our information & referral services–they’re starting to rebound since dropping off dramatically in March. Introducing a new way to interact in addition to phone and email lets our team reach people in the way most comfortable for the client.

Website visitors who choose to chat can expect to see which of our team members are currently online. Amy Sechrist and Christine Weidner are first in line, with Josh Mountz and Liz Sanchez-Stanley to cover them. Common topics for our information & referral team include:

  • Where to get a drug & alcohol evaluation
  • How to pay for addiction treatment
  • How to access detox (withdrawal management) for alcohol or opioids
  • And what to do if a loved one, employee, or client needs help for substance use or gambling issues

Chat clients remain anonymous to our team members, and do not need to offer any identifying information to receive assistance. Our staff can share links and documents, as well as images and text with visitors in order to give them a full picture of the services available in the community. As always, our team is happy to provide a “warm hand-off” by helping clients contact organizations directly, through phone conferencing or email. People affected by addiction may be weary, unwell, low on phone minutes, or simply reassured by the advocacy efforts of our staff.

The Addiction Resource Center and information & referral team specialize in resources for Lancaster, Lebanon, and Chester Counties, PA, but aim to be the last random call/email/chat for anyone impacted by addiction. We thank you in advance for spreading the word that help can be had–in a hurry!