When it comes to fighting substance abuse in Ontario County, much of that battle has been done through de-stigmatizing addiction, to ensure that more people who need help — seek and accept it.
On Thursday’s Inside the FLX podcast, Petrea Rae, Program Director at the Partnership for Ontario County talked about how a diverse coalition of individuals work together in Ontario County to help identify, deal with, and combat substance abuse.
“It can frequently begin with prescription medications,” Rae explained before the show began. In May of last year, the Partnership received funding to address heroin and prescription drug abuse in Ontario County.
The first step was identifying some of the trends in Ontario County specifically. During the fall of 2015, the Partnership began surveying students — identifying what some of the trends were inside Ontario County schools.
One problem, she noted, was that by May of this year — Ontario County had already seen as many overdose deaths as had been recorded in 2015.
Rae explained that some of the drug trends identified in their survey of students found a low perception of risk to marijuana, high perception of risk to heroin and tobacco, with continued trends in underage drinking.
One of the major challenges in dealing with substance abuse in the Finger Lakes is the overall cost on communities. Law enforcement is tasked with keeping streets clean, while the criminal justice system is stressed with more cases involving substance abuse. Health systems, employers, and family members of those who are addicted — all are forced to contend with challenging, expensive circumstances.
The Partnerships efforts in holding forums throughout the county and reaching out to young people is an absolutely crucial step that they realize is important.
Check out the entire video in the window above, and be sure to check out the great links listed below to learn more about the Partnership for Ontario County.