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Treatment Centers Reeling from Record Addictions, Overdoses See Funding Boost from New York State

Helio Health

Drug treatment centers in Syracuse are trying to recover from dual crises: lost income during the pandemic and a spike in addiction. The CDC recently announced 2020 set a record for most deaths related to drug overdoses in a single year.  With many in lockdown, Americans experienced more mental health problems, which led many to turn to substance abuse when they weren’t able to receive help. 




Helio Health Services Director Ben Kandel, said the pandemic drastically impacted rehabilitation programs around the country. 

“We have a lot of patients in the U.S right now that are really struggling, and don’t have the support,” Kandel said. “Whether it’s agencies that had to close because of financial struggles, they didn’t necessarily have the technology to support their patients, it’s quite scary.”


Helio Health is one treatment center that was fortunate enough to stay afloat during the pandemic. Kandel explained they were able to adjust their programs quickly enough that they never had to stop treating patients.  

“It was amazing to see within a one week window, two weeks tops, we had laptops in the majority of counselors' hands to support the patients and allow them to continue on with care,” Kandel said.


Helio and ten other Central New York treatment and recovery agencies received $1.8 million from the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports. Among the other treatment and recovery agencies are The Recovery Center and Center for Community Alternatives which operate exclusively in Onondaga county.

Helio marketing specialist Susan LaPlaca said she hopes more people can get help with addiction through uniting area treatment providers to expand their reach.   

“We’re partnered with a bunch of different agencies in the region to work together to promote a healthy community,” LaPlace said. “And so my understanding is that some of this funding is going toward that effort, where we will put our resources and our brains together to figure out what steps to take next in overcoming the opioid crisis.”

The CDC’s 2020 report showed over 81,000 drug overdose deaths since May of 2020, with synthetic opiods like fentanyl being the leading factor in the increase in deaths.


Helio is focused on providing training on administering Narcan, the overdose relief drug,  to members of the Syracuse community.  Their next available training is March 31st. 

For information and Registration, click here.

The Center’s directors spoke at Syracuse University’s Thursday Morning Roundtable. 

Along with Helio Health, the $1.8 million in funding will also be distributed to the following agencies through the Central New York Behavioral Health Care Collaborative (CNY BHCC):

  • Prevention Network

  • Farnham Family Services

  • Center for Family Life and Recovery

  • Confidential Help for Alcohol & Drugs inc.

  • Crouse Health

  • Community Recovery Center of Rome Health

  • Liberty Resources Inc

  • Center for Community Alternatives

  • ACR Health