WARM Line: WellSpan program supports recovery

WellSpan program supports recovery

Drug addiction touches the lives of so many people in addition to those struggling with a substance-abuse disorder.

Dr. Mitchell Crawford can attest to that.

Crawford, WellSpan Health’s director of addiction services, lost his sister, Izzy, who died from an accidental heroin overdose when she was just 25 in April 2015.

“She was a great person who I loved very much,” said Crawford, who also lost a colleague to addiction during his days of medical training.

“It can affect anyone.”

The tragic losses motivated Crawford to specialize in treating people with addiction. His team supported his passion by developing ways to help those struggling with drug addiction, including their family members and loved ones.

WellSpan Philhaven recently launched WARM Line, a 24-hour support line for those affected by addiction. The program puts a heavy focus on providing support, resources and mentoring for those battling an opioid-use disorder. WellSpan Health Addiction Services offers The WellSpan Addiction Recovery Mentoring WARM Line. A $500,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs funds it.

A person can call 1-844-WARMLINE, which serves Lebanon, (NE) Lancaster, York, Adams, Franklin and Cumberland counties, to get the following help:

  • A recovery specialist will assist with referring individuals to recovery coaching, mentoring and clinical services;
  • providing referrals to clinical services for affected families; and
  • providing transportation and ride-sharing vouchers.

Specialists later touch base with those who choose to be identified to find out how they are doing, Crawford said.

Pandemic can bring tough times

While social support and structure are extremely important to everyone’s recovery journey, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted some of that.

According to Crawford, many people have experienced significant social isolation during the quarantine. That’s particularly harmful for those in recovery.

In York County, there were a total of 65 overdose deaths for 2020 by the end of June. If that number doubled to 130 over the next six months, it would bring a significant increase from 104 overdose deaths in 2019.


Crawford also pointed out that addicts may have been afraid to engage with the health care system for treatment. That fear might have been ed by not knowing that services can be provided using telemedicine, he said.

He believes the launch of WARM Line is just another way that WellSpan can keep the line of communication open for support around the clock.

“I understand that support is needed for loved ones during challenging times,” Crawford said.

Community members can call the WARM Line and remain anonymous if they choose. They will be connected with someone who can provide needed support.      

Staying in the fight

Significant progress has been made the past few years in opioid use disorder treatment by expanding the number of providers that can prescribe treatment by more than 15 times.

Eight WellSpan providers were able to prescribe buprenorphine for the treatment of opioid use disorder in 2017. Today, there are more than 130 providers and over 1,000 patients started with treatment.

WellSpan also focuses on prevention efforts by reducing the number of opioids that are prescribed to decrease potential harm. The reduction in opioid prescriptions equal more than 413,208 oxycodone 5mg pills not being in our communities, Crawford said.

There are no numbers that can describe the value of support that WARM Line can provide for someone struggling with addiction.

“The WARM Line can help many people, but only if they know about it.  I encourage our community partners and neighbors to share this resource widely, whether they think someone could benefit or not; because chances are that either they can benefit from it or they know someone who could,” Crawford said.

WARM Line information can be found here.