The State of North Carolina has gotten involved with smartphone app development once again and this time state health officials have worked with others to create a new free digital app that helps support people with substance use problems.

On Friday, March 8, the  North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) announced it has partnered with CHESS Health and Trillium Health Resources to help people in the state who are working toward recovery from substance use disorders.

The smartphone app offers users immediate access to a team of trained peer recovery specialists who are available 24/7.

According to a description from state health officials, the app “offers moderated peer support groups, on-demand digital cognitive behavioral therapy programs and a robust set of recovery tools.”

 The service is free for North Carolinians who enroll through their health care provider and then download the app.

The program is fully funded by NCDHHS.

NCDHHS Division Director of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Use Services Kelly Crosbie said this is a model that’s already proven effective in the struggle against substance abuse.

“We know there is no one-size-fits-all model to recovery,” Crosbie stated in a press release announcing the new app. “We are pleased to provide North Carolinians with an additional, evidence-based tool to support their recovery, when and where they need them.”

State officials point out that the mobile app isn’t a substitute for clinical treatment, but is instead an added tool that will help people connect with peers and receive additional recovery support.

The CHESS Health eRecovery program will be introduced in phases to over 100 organizations across the state over the next couple of years.

“Our solution offers individuals a continuous ‘connectedness’ that’s been shown to reduce feelings of isolation while providing a comfortable space for sharing feelings and celebrating milestones and achievements,” said Hans Morefield, the CEO of CHESS Health. “Our Connections app helps individuals to manage risk moments ― triggers, cravings, anxiety and negative thinking ― that occur between visits, so they stay in treatment longer and realize a better, long-term quality of life.”