Family Navigator, Peer Advocates Coming to Broome County

Binghamton, NY – Broome County Executive Debbie Preston joined members of the Broome County Legislature, OASAS, ACBC, Commissioner of Social Services Art Johnson, Deputy Commissioner of Mental Health Katie Cusano and members of BOAC to announce the creation of the family navigator and peer advocate positions.

The on-call peer advocates will connect patients in hospital Emergency Departments to appropriate addiction treatment and the family support navigator program will assist families as they access substance use disorder care for a loved one.

“The family navigator and the peer advocates are two more tools to help in our fight against opioids in our community,” says Broome County Executive Debbie Preston.  “The peer advocate will be an important piece in helping addicts get the treatment they need while the family navigator will help families dealing with an opioid addiction right from the start. I’d like to thank the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services for funding these two critical positions and working with us in our fight against opioid addiction.”

“The disease of addiction is a powerful adversary, but it is one that can be overcome with treatment and supports,” said NYS OASAS Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez. “These services are the latest addition to our ongoing efforts to improve access to substance use disorder care. They will help guide individuals and families to the treatment and services they need so that they can begin their journey towards recovery.”

“When a loved one enters treatment for addiction, it’s a difficult time for the entire family,” said Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Children and Families. “No one should have to worry about the stress of determining the next step in the treatment process. The peer advocate and family navigator will offer critical guidance to both the individual and their families, helping them stay on track to getting healthy.”

“Opioid addiction is tearing our communities and families apart.  It is a virtual killer.   Fighting this epidemic has been a top priority of mine,” said County Legislator Ron Heebner. “The Broome County Legislature is proud to support this plan and to authorize the acceptance of this necessary funding from New York State.  We are greatly indebted to those who have been working so hard, at all levels, with the addicted to see that they receive as much care as we can provide. This funding will go a long way to help those beset by this monster.”

The $250,000 grant was awarded to the Addiction Center of Broome County to support on-call peer outreach services and the family support navigator initiative.

“The Addiction Center of Broome County thanks OASAS and Broome County for awarding ACBC with this grant,” says Executive Director Carmela Pirich.  “We work closely to support families who have loved ones with a very complicated disease, but there can be many barriers such as timely access to care, high deductibles or co-pays, or availability of medication assisted recovery. We are hopeful the addiction family navigator and peer advocates will be able to decrease the barriers that families and individuals are facing so that they can focus on stabilization and recovery.”

The Addiction Center is readying for these services to be available by June 1.

The Addiction Care Center can be reached at (607) 723-7308. 

Yesterday, the Joint Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Abuse outlined its recommendations on how to fight this battle.

Some of the recommendations are things that are already being done here in Broome County, including education on the dangers of over prescribing, better access to naloxone for everyone, more pharmaceutical take back events, expanding access to judicial prevention programs like drug court, which has been very successful in Broome County.

They are taking a 4 pronged approach including prevention, treatment, recovery and enforcement…the same 4 prongs that have made up the Broome Opioid Abuse Council.

“We are on the front lines in this fight,” says Preston.  “We continue to work on creative solutions to the problem and will be having more announcements like these in the coming weeks.”



05/18/2016 - 1:51pm