Funds continue to fight opioid crisis in Southern Tier - Binghamton-area News, Weather, Sports

Funds continue to fight opioid crisis in Southern Tier

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OWEGO (WBNG) -- Tioga County is set to receive $156,000 in funding for jail-based substance use disorder treatment services, providing funds to set inmates up for success, during, and after their sentence.

17 counties throughout New York state were awarded a combined $3.75 million.

Responsibility for how this money will be spent is being given to local authorities, rather than the state.

"Here is a pot of money, use it how you see fit and put the program together," explained State Senator Fred Akshar.

The money will fund medication-assisted treatment for addicts, medication that reduces the effects of withdrawal and works to prevent a relapse.

"I think it's going to go a long ways in helping and getting these people out of my jail and back into my community to prosper and have a better life," said Tioga County Sheriff Gary Howard.

The money will also help pay for full-time and part-time counselors for inmates. Right now there are none due to a lack of funding and it's been that way for the past month.

This resource can have a huge impact on inmates.

"Sometimes it's just a word that somebody says or a sentence or just reaching out and being empathetic to someone, it can change the course of their life," said Lori Morgan, Director of Community Services for Tioga County Mental Hygiene.

State Senator Akshar said a similar program in Albany County has reduced rates of re-offenses by 28 percent, what he called a prime example of what we'll see in Tioga County in the future.

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