(BINGHAMTON, N.Y.) — Mayor Richard C. David today joined Michele Napolitano, Executive Director of Fairview Recovery Services, to outline details of a new partnership to provide needed care for individuals battling heroin addiction.
“For decades, this City primarily dealt with drugs one way: enforcement,” said Mayor David. “In collaborating with a well-respected community service provider and committing the limited funding we have, Binghamton is taking steps to change the conversation on drug treatment and deliver support to residents in need.”
First announced in Mayor David’s 2016 State of the City Address, the City will fund a two-year Intensive Care Navigator program at Fairview Recovery Services on the East Side.
The specialized Care Navigator position will support clients who are leaving Fairview’s Addiction Crisis Center and awaiting placement at a long-term care facility. In Binghamton, 40 percent of addicted individuals fail to enter a long-term treatment program after being discharged from a detox or crisis center. The Care Navigator will assist Fairview’s discharged clients with finding safe housing, provide transportation to medical and counseling appointments, and an ensure placement in a long-term care facility.
The Care Navigator will also coordinate with other substance abuse agencies, such as probation, social services, courts, medical and treatment agencies, participate in the planning and implementation of educational, vocational and training programs, act as a consultant to clients and makes referrals to schools, social service agencies, health-related organizations, probation personnel, and other agencies.
“We’re building off our strengths in the treatment process,” said Napolitano. “Our team approach to helping addicted individuals needed another specialist, furthering the concept of a continuum of individualized services and care for our clients. This expansion of services will allow us to treat more individuals, and would not be possible without Mayor David’s recognition and support.”
The two-year program will cost $80,000, paid for by Community Development Block Grant funds.
Last summer, Mayor David and Fairview officials began exploring challenges and identifying solutions for patient care in the City. In Binghamton, 40 percent of addicted individuals fail to enter a long-term treatment program after being discharged from a detox or crisis center. Beds are in such high demand that patients have to return home and wait for an opening.
“It’s a dangerous gap in the road to recovery,” said Mayor David. “In many cases, individuals return to the lifestyles they’re trying to escape.”
With the new Intensive Care Navigator program, patients will have personalized support to reduce instances of relapse and be accountable to a single individual they can trust. Fairview will discharge patients in less time and with more confidence they will enter a long-term treatment program, opening beds faster for addicted individuals in crisis in our community.
On Thursday, Kim Cary was introduced as Fairview’s Intensive Care Navigator. Cary had previously worked for the Elmcrest Children’s Center and Catholic Charities of Broome County, bringing years of case management and human services experience, especially with youth and young adult populations.
“I’m excited to join a coalition of leaders like Michele and Mayor David who believe in the support services needed to address addiction,” said Cary. “To have the backing of the City of Binghamton means so much in making this program successful.”
Mayor David, announcing details of the program Thursday, stressed the City’s goal of supporting those who provide services to end the heroin epidemic across the Southern Tier.
“It begins and ends with the care providers,” said Mayor David. “The more our community and elected leaders understand the long road to recovery and the work being done by treatment providers on the front lines, the better able we are to focus resources and expand programs that work.”
“City Hall is not structured with the departments or resources to fight the heroin epidemic alone,” said Mayor David. “However, we must think outside the box and creatively partner with non-profit and government organizations to support the regional response in combating the heroin epidemic. This dynamic new initiative has accomplished just that. It’s the first step in a new outlook at City Hall and the first of many partnerships as it relates to combating heroin addiction in our community.”
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