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It was less than a decade ago that that the words “opioid epidemic” became a household term in Cayuga County.

While the resources to aid recovery for alcohol and substance abuse/addictions have been available for decades, medical professionals, law enforcement and ordinary citizens have come together to create a comprehensive network of resources for those whose lives have been touched by addiction. Opioid abuse and addiction has hit the area hard, but data provided to the state in May of this year showed signs that the local efforts to curb usage and increase treatment options are taking root. Opioid overdoses resulting in death dropped from 20 in 2017 to 11 in 2018, and overdoses that resulted in hospitalizations dropped from 45 to 40 in the same time period.

Let’s look at what’s available for those who are seeking treatment and their loved ones in the area (if you are in crisis, please go to your closest emergency care provider).

Auburn problem-solving courts: Despite its name, the Auburn problem-solving courts serve all of Cayuga County to break the cycle of drug use and related crimes for non-violent offenders. Law enforcement and providers work together to treat the individual and reduce recidivism.

Cayuga County Mental Health Center: Located at 146 North St., the center provides services for a variety of issues, including mental health and substance abuse.

Confidential Help for Alcohol and Drugs: CHAD offers services such as assessment/evaluation, education therapy, adult intensive outpatient program and relapse prevention programs.

East Hill Family Medical: East Hill has incorporated treating those who struggle with addiction into its normal course of practice, and primary care physicians act as a point person to refer patients for additional components of addiction care.

GRACE House/Unity House: Located downtown, GRACE House provides a substance-free community residence for adults in a group setting while working on an individualized recovery plan. Stays average between four and six months and residents will develop a structured routine to remain sober.

Syracuse Recovery Services: Programs offered by Syracuse Recovery Services at its Auburn location include therapy, after-care, case management and outpatient treatment. It also provides services for Spanish-speaking patients. The organization has locations in Onondaga and Cortland counties. Call (315) 282-5351 for more information.

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Cayuga County Drug-Free Community Coalition: This coalition is a group of 12 community-sector members and volunteers that assess substance abuse issues in the area of youth education and prevention and implements plans tailored to area’s needs.

Cayuga County Community Services Board: The board includes an alcohol and substance abuse subcommittee and a mental health subcommittee that meet monthly, where providers and committee members discuss community-related recovery programs. They are open to the public. Visit auburnpub.com/calendar for a full list of meetings.

Heroin Epidemic Action League: HEAL is an organization that is comprised of medical professionals, law enforcement, those in recovery and loved ones offering support and education for community members, bringing awareness to the opioid crisis. HEAL offers Heroin/Opiate Anonymous and Nar-Anon meetings, as well as a support group for family and loved ones.

Nick’s Ride 4 Friends: After Nick Campagnola lost his battle with addiction in 2015, family members founded Nick’s Ride 4 Friends in his memory. The organization provides resources for those touched by the opioid epidemic and has an annual motorcycle ride to fund-raise and promote awareness of the need for services in the community. In addition, Nick’s Ride offers AA/NA 12-step programs and is in the process of developing Nick’s House of H.O.P.E. to better serve its growing base.

Al-Anon/Nar-Anon/Alateen: Al-Anon and Alateen are important resources for loved ones dealing with addiction. Family members can surround themselves with those who share similar experiences. Al-Anon meetings are held at 7:30 p.m. Mondays and 7 p.m. Saturdays at United Methodist Church in Skaneateles (26 Jordan St.). Nar-Anon meetings are held 6:30 p.m. Thursdays at Lakes Church in Auburn (138 E. Genesee St). The closest Alateen meetings are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays at St. Michael's Lutheran Church in Camillus (110 Hindsdale Road); however, both Al-Anon and Alateen offer online meetings and chat. To find an online meeting, visit al-anon.org/al-anon-meetings/electronic-meetings. For a complete list of meetings in the area, visit auburnpub.com/calendar.

Alcoholics/Heroin/Narcotics Anonymous: AA and NA are both 12-step programs to help addicts in any stage of recovery continue to remain substance-free. While AA focuses on alcohol-related dependency, NA does not focus on any one substance. And, as the name states, Heroin Anonymous zeros in on heroin and opiate addiction. For a complete list of meetings in the area, visit auburnpub.com/calendar.

Anxiety, Depression and Panic Attack Support Group: Not surprisingly, addiction can bring on or exacerbate symptoms of mental illness. This support group meets between 7 and 8:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month on the second floor of Auburn Community Hospital (17 Lansing St.).

These are just some of the providers and programming offered in the area. Addiction is no longer something we are willing to let hide in the shadows. Thanks to the support of numerous community leaders, those that are suffering with addiction have a place to turn — no matter where they are in the recovery process. From those that are just entering treatment to an individual months or years along in sobriety, there is a resource for everyone. Please note that additional information for each program can be found online.

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Timothy Donovan, of Auburn, is a member of the Cayuga County Drug-Free Community Coalition and the Cayuga County Alcohol and Substance Abuse Sub-Committee. For more information, he can be reached at timmy5710@yahoo.com.

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