New York state has released new materials intended for parents, community groups, teachers, and others to help initiate conversation with those struggling with addiction.
Between 2005 and 2014, opiate addiction rose 115 percent in upstate New York. The state says nearly half of young people who inject heroin abused prescription painkillers.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the heroin-related overdose death rate increased 286 percent from 2002 to 2013.
To fight the addiction crisis, the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services has released the Kitchen Table Toolkit. The goal is to put materials in the hands of those seeking to help anyone find treatment for addiction.
Included in the toolkit are guidance documents that can be printed or delivered. There’s also a series of videos that feature the stories of those affected by addiction.
The videos are introduced by Commissioner Arlene Gonzalez-Sanchez.
“It is important to know that addiction can happen to anyone, any family, and at any time. I encourage all New Yorkers to learn the warning signs of addiction, how to access help, and to understand that addiction is a disease that can be treated,” said Sanchez.
While one video is meant to encourage conversation in the community, another is focused on communicating with young people. The state estimates that 9 out of 10 addicts began using substances before they turned 18.
The Council for Prevention, serving Warren and Washington Counties, is one such organization that holds regular community forums on addiction and substance abuse. Executive Director David Saffer:
“This is not just a Warren and Washington County issue, this is a much larger issue. But first we’re going to tackle it by doing a lot of education, raising people’s awareness, and getting people to discuss, openly, what’s going on.”
Saffer says it’s important for communities to recognize that addiction is a treatable disease.
“That people need support, people need to be encouraged, people need to come together to discuss the various aspects of the addiction, and that there can be changes, and we need to make changes not only in individuals but in communities and societies, and recognize this as a health related issue,” said Saffer.
For more information on the Kitchen Table Toolkit visit: http://www.combatheroin.ny.gov/kitchen-table-toolkit