Programs focus on prevention and intervention
(BINGHAMTON, NY) – In an effort to continue the fight against opioid addiction in the Southern Tier, area service providers joined Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo Monday to call for increased funding in next year’s state budget. In a letter sent to Governor Cuomo, Lupardo requested a bump for critical prevention and intervention programs.
“We’ve seen some progress as awareness of the problem of opioid abuse has increased, but more of our resources need to be focused on prevention and case management interventions,” said Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-Endwell).
Lupardo’s letter to the governor asks specifically for increases to two programs that have worked well in our community. The Student Assistance Program offers counseling and prevention services to students who are at risk of drug and alcohol use. Currently four area districts offer this service; as many as ten districts utilized this program in the past, but lack of funding resulted in cuts at six districts. Ten schools have expressed interest in starting or expanding this program.
“As opioids continue to affect younger and younger people, school-based prevention programs are critical,” said Nancy Frank LCSWR, Lourdes Youth Services Director. “Reaching students through the Lourdes Student Assistance Program will not only provide them with the tools needed to avoid the problems associated with of drug and alcohol abuse, but also helps them become better students, make healthy choices, and become better prepared for life outside the classroom. This funding has proven effective and expanding it to include more schools is a necessary component in combating substance abuse in our community.”
The Managed Addiction Treatment Services (MATS) program focuses on intensive case management, offering recovery support services as well as help with life skills. Previously offered at Fairview Recovery Services, MATS was successful in improved functioning, longer periods of abstinence, less-frequent relapses, and increased sobriety in pregnant women for its participants. MATS funding for Fairview ended in 2009.
“Any funds spent on preventing drug addiction will not only save exponentially on the cost of treatment and rehabilitation, but will save actual lives and untold misery and heartbreak for individuals and their families,” said Michele Napolitano, Executive Director of Fairview Recovery Services. “Intensive addictions case management has also been shown as an effective strategy to lead to sobriety and health for those who need more than traditional rehabilitation programs.”