Community leaders discuss heroin epidemic in CNY

Local News

On Thursday community leaders held a roundtable at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo about the heroin crisis which continues to hit Central New York.

As the stigma surrounding addiction starts to fade more people are taking action to fight the epidemic eating away at communities — including the biggest hurdle for users — finding help.

“In 2013 we admitted 157 patients we’re doubling that and admit over 320 patients,” said Mark Raymond, Manager of Crouse Hospital’s Opioid Treatment Center.

Raymond says his program has been expanding to accommodate the growing demand.

What used to be close to a year-long waiting list has been shortened to just a few months.

“We’ve increased staff we’re up to 18 counselors, 9 nurses; we’ve added medication windows,” explained Raymond.

Raymond says there are also more treatment centers open or on the way giving families more avenues to find help.

For families who don’t have coverage, some practices even offer payment plans and sliding scales reducing the cost of treatment.

“It’s difficult to navigate the process in the system and get people in when they’re motivated and ready,” explained Dessa Bergen-Cico, an Associate Professor in the Department of Public Health at Syracuse University.

Teaching communities how to find help and get connected with the right centers is another goal of these roundtables, which continue to surface throughout Central New York.

A community listening forum on addiction and recovery is also being held Thursday evening at the North Central Church in North Syracuse.

The community forum runs from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.

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