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BC Health Department Receives Funding to Fight the Opioid Epidemic

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The Broome County Health Department is one of four counties in the state to receive funding from the New York State Department of Health to help build local health department capacity for opioid overdose prevention.

"The Health Department is very excited to receive additional funds, some of this will be going to support some of the programs that we did implement this year such as the Peer Response Team," said Rebecca Kaufman, Broome County Public Health Director.

In total, the county has been awarded the Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention Program Grant which gives $100,000 split over the course of two years. 

Broome County is working with the New York State Opioid Overdose Prevention Program staff to determine how to use the money. The Health Department says one of the goals of this initiative is to improve community engagement and to promote active learning around opioid overdose prevention.

"Any additional resources that we can receive through the county is a wonderful thing if we reach out and we save one life, we've accomplished something, so I'm very excited about the grant," said Susan Wheeler, Lost Daughter to Overdose. In August of 2016, Wheeler's only daughter, Morgan overdosed on heroin and died at the age of 25.

Other potential intervention strategies include:

  • Engaging providers in improving opioid prescribing practices.
  • Increasing access and reduce barriers to medication-assisted treatment. 
  • Encourage effective provider mentoring mechanisms such as preceptorships to support to clinicians.            
  • Expanding the Peer Response Program to strengthen referral mechanisms with hospital emergency rooms, emergency services, law enforcement, parole, drug court, and other potential venues.  
  • Promoting a harm reduction approach in the provision of services to people who have substance use disorders.
  • Reducing the stigma associated with substance use disorders.

Broome County Executive Jason Garnar also officially announced April 1, 2018, as the opening day at the new Drug Treatment Facility.