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Confronting Long Island’s Heroin / Opiate Pill Epidemic: New Outpatient Detoxification and Linkage to Treatment Available in Nassau and Suffolk Sites

In response to a multi-year surge of heroin and opiate pill use on Long Island, CN Guidance & Counseling Services, the region’s leader in addressing substance use and mental health disorders, has launched outpatient detoxification ...

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Hicksville, NY - November 3, 2015 - In response to a multi-year surge of heroin and opiate pill use on Long Island, CN Guidance & Counseling Services, the region’s leader in addressing substance use and mental health disorders, has launched outpatient detoxification and withdrawal support services to residents of both counties. The two new sites, one at Horizons Counseling & Education Center at 161 East Main St. in Smithtown and the other at CN Guidance’s main office at 950 S. Oyster Bay Rd. in Hicksville, have begun delivering a combination of services to local residents addicted to opiates. The services, supported by funds from both county governments, include assessment, detoxification (“detox”), symptom relief with addiction medications (if needed), monitoring of vital signs, and instant connection to longer-term treatment and relapse prevention. Residents and other service providers in either county may call 516-822-6111 to access the program.

Heroin killed a record-high 144 people on Long Island in 2013, a death toll increasing 91% in Nassau County and 163% in Suffolk County since just 2010, Newsday reported last fall. Opioid pills (including oxycodone) were linked to 343 additional deaths on Long Island in 2012 and 2013. During a studied nine-month period in 2013, 4,409 individuals requested detoxification services in Nassau County, but only 26% (1,157) were actually admitted, according to Nassau County’s Department of Human Services, Office of Mental Health, Chemical Dependency and Developmental Disabilities Services. Suffolk County struggles analogously.

“We are filling a critical gap,” said Jeffrey Friedman, Chief Executive Officer of CN Guidance, “The havoc connected to untreated opiate addiction on Long Island has been slicing through our Long Island families and communities. These new outpatient detoxification and support services are enabling opiate-addicted individuals—and their families—to receive the help they need immediately, with no lag in connection to the longer-term treatment and recovery services they need after detoxification.

If you know someone in need, please call us.” Data from the NY State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services show that 85% of detoxification in NY State is done in hospitals, often with long waits, at high costs, and with lacking results, whereas other states use such hospital-based detoxification primarily for medically or psychiatrically complicated cases.

The new outpatient programs offer an alternative for the many residents who face mild to moderate severity of withdrawal from opiates, rather than severe withdrawal most commonly associated with emergency-level crises. Because CN Guidance is a comprehensive behavioral health services provider that offers full-service care coordination, it is able to link clients in the new outpatient programs immediately to a whole array of often- needed services ranging from mental health counseling and treatment to long-term substance use treatment.

About CN Guidance
CN Guidance & Counseling Services (CN Guidance) is a nonprofit organization launched in 1972 that provides clinical treatment, rehabilitation, housing opportunities, social and support services, counseling, and guidance to individuals, families and the community affected by mental illness, developmental disabilities, psychological difficulties, addiction, and/or dependency problems. CN Guidance delivers its services to Long Island residents via 230+ staff, joined by student interns and volunteers. In addition to providing substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment, and case management services, CN Guidance offers clients a “Drop In” center for services and operates social enterprises including the Starry Night Café—which serve and support the organization’s mission and the growth and thriving of CN Guidance’s clients.