Central New York’s rural counties are among some of the hardest hit by the opioid epidemic, so the state senate is bringing its task force to Madison County Monday to focus on the challenges facing outlying communities. One of those attending the roundtable discussion is Susan Jenkins, Executive Director of BRiDGES, the Madison County Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse. She says what might work in cities doesn’t always make sense in the country.
"In Madison County, you cannot hop on a bus and get from point A to point B very easily. We need to think of creative ways to help people get to treatment. We don't have the same level of broadband or internet access. When I drive to work, there are sections of Madison County where it cuts out altogether."
Jenkins says that could limit the availability of telemedicine for treatment. In addition to overdoses and deaths from opiates, she says Madison County is also dealing with the hardship created by methamphetamine, alcohol, and cocaine addiction. Jenkins says the state has done a great job expanding treatment, but comes up short in supporting prevention efforts.
"We do not receive the same level of funding at all, so we've been operating on the same level for decades. So, it would be nice to see more money to help prevent problems before they start."
The Senate’s Joint Task Force roundtable discussion on opioids, addiction, and overdose prevention will be held Monday at 11 a.m. in the Madison County Board of Supervisors Chambers in Wampsville. Anyone interested in participating can RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The BRiDGES helpline is (315) 697-3947.