Monday, May 1, 2017

OASAS Awarded $250,000 to Expand Access to Addiction Treatment Services

The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) today announced the award of $250,000 to expand access to addiction treatment services and recovery supports in Albany County. The Addictions Care Center of Albany was awarded $100,000 to implement a Family Support Navigator Program to assist families as they access substance use disorder care for a loved one. The Catholic Charities’ Project SAFE Point was awarded $150,000 to establish a Peer Advocate Program to work with local emergency room providers to identify and implement best practices for engaging individuals and patients within that setting with the goal of directing them to the most appropriate treatment and recovery supports following an opioid/drug overdose or substance use disorder crisis.

Both initiatives were developed by OASAS in support of ongoing statewide efforts to combat heroin and prescription opioid misuse by delivering services through county-based treatment providers. The funding will continue to advance Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s statewide efforts to combat addiction through community-based initiatives.

“The family support navigator and peer advocate services provide critical guidance to people entering treatment, as well as to their families,” said OASAS Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez. “The services also help reduce barriers to the treatment process, so people can achieve long-term recovery without relapse.”

“Through this innovative program the state and partners are working to end the opioid epidemic in New York,” said Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy. “I commend the Governor and OASAS for providing local programs the support needed to provide treatment and supportive services for patients and their families in Albany County.”

“Addiction services in this community have been greatly enhanced by the addition of these two innovative programs. We are now better able to address the immediate needs of families seeking assistance and better respond to the immediate needs of individuals in crisis or in the aftermath of overdose. These are potentially lifesaving programs,” said Albany County Department of Mental Health Director and Director of Community Services Dr. Stephen Giordano.

The main purpose of the Family Support Navigator Program is to help patients and their families understand the progression of addiction and how to navigate the insurance and treatment systems. The family support navigator will also develop relationships with local addiction prevention, treatment and recovery services; managed care organizations; local substance use disorder councils; and community stakeholders, to assist families with accessing local treatment and support services.

The Peer Engagement Program allows peer specialists to work in hospitals’ inpatient medical units and emergency departments to assist patients who are there for drug and alcohol dependency issues. They are people who are in recovery from a substance use disorder or have a loved one in recovery – or have lost a loved one to addiction. They have completed specific training that enables them to enhance a person’s wellness and recovery by providing peer support. The primary goal of the Peer Engagement program is to help individuals and families in crisis navigate the treatment service delivery system. Peers who understand the service delivery system will be available to meet people in emergency rooms and crisis centers, provide emotional support, share insights about the treatment process and assist the client in obtaining services.

In 2016, OASAS awarded funding to Albany County to support the establishment of Family Navigator and Peer Advocate programs in area Emergency Rooms, to assist the county in fighting the heroin and opioid epidemic.  The Family Support Navigator program commenced during the first week of March and the Peer Engagement Initiative will begin on a 24/7 schedule starting April 1, 2017. These programs will serve those in need in Albany and neighboring counties.

New Yorkers struggling with an addiction, or whose loved ones are struggling, can find help and hope by calling the state’s toll-free, 24-hour, 7-day-a-week HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369) or by texting HOPENY (Short Code 467369).

Available addiction treatment including crisis/detox, inpatient, community residence, or outpatient care can be found using this new and improved NYS OASAS Treatment Availability Dashboard at or through the Access Treatment page on the NYS OASAS website. Visit the #CombatAddiction website at to learn more about how you can help to combat addiction in your community.

Visit for more information on addressing heroin and prescription opioid abuse, including a Kitchen Table Tool Kit to help start the conversation about the warning signs of addiction and where to get help. For tools to use in talking to a young person about preventing alcohol or drug use, visit the State’s Talk2Prevent website.

Source: The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services

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