New York State officials joined an advocacy group to host an addiction treatment information session in the town of Owego this week.
Owego is located in Tioga County, one of the counties of the southern tier region of upstate NY, which had 1,819 overdose deaths associated with opioids last year, according to the New York State Department of Health.
The alarming death toll observed outside of New York City has been prompting officials from the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services to prioritize efforts that promote awareness about the dangers of drugs as well as drug addiction treatment services and programs.
The informational event was held on Wednesday, July 18, by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services and Truth Pharm — a national advocacy nonprofit organization that has worked to increase awareness about substance use disorders around the U.S. and decrease the stigma associated with addiction while advocating for improved treatment practices.
During the event, the chief of the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services not only informed the audience on the resources that are available to the people who need addiction treatment but also debunked several common perceptions that revolve around recovery.
One example of an incorrect popular impression that the official highlighted was that many people tend to believe that addiction treatment programs that are not paid out of pocket by the patient but by an insurance company have a limit of two weeks. It was explained that individuals are not required to have health insurance to be able to get into a substance use disorder treatment program.
The session also allowed the attendees to learn more about the policies, laws, and regulations that are pertinent to the people who need help.
Several regulations that are related to addiction treatment practices in New York State have changed in recent years, the speakers stated. Thus, it is crucial to make sure that the public is aware and informed about all of the changes that may impact them.
These educational efforts are among many other efforts implemented by the state to curb the effects of the opioid epidemic.
One of those measures was announced in December when New York State officials allocated a total $450,000 in funds to improve open-access centers that provide 24/7 substance use disorder treatment services to counties in the southern tier of the state.
The allocation of those funds came after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had proclaimed that more than $8 million in federal grants would be awarded to a number of substance use disorder treatment programs and services provided by drug rehab centers that are located throughout different areas of the state.
The recent event was a part of a series of programs that have been put together by Truth Pharm to educate the members of the community on the different facets and dangers posed by substance use disorders for 10 weeks. The next event will be happening next Wednesday at the same location in Owego.