Why Steuben County is holding its third drug abuse forum

CORNING, N.Y. (18 NEWS) - Steuben County is holding another community opioid and substance abuse forum.

The main goal behind these forums is to raise awareness. 

Some might argue the open events are a bad sign because it shows how great the need is. Others could say it's a good sign because it means the county is doing something about it and moving in the right direction. There's also the possibility of a little truth behind both statements. 

Sixteen people died from drug overdoses last year in the county with about 90 percent having had opioids in their system. 

Two drug abuse forums occurred so far this year as a result. The third is coming up later this month, but do these recurring events mean that it's helping or could statistics be getting worse?

"We're having more of these substance abuse and opioid forums because we see the positive results and we see a lot of community participation," County Manager Jack Wheeler said. 

The first forum was at Bath Haverling High School, the second was at Hornell Senior High School, and on October 24, the third will be at Corning-Painted Post High School.

The county focuses on having the open forums at schools because it says they are aggregating points for communities. Additionally, putting effort in prevention at an early age can save lives on the backend especially when schools have the ability to play a key role. 

"It's an important message for the school district to be involved in these conversations knowing we have access to all the students," CPPHS Superintendent Mike Ginalski said. "We really think it's important to be a strong partner with the county in their efforts to decrease drug abuse."

The upcoming forum will follow a similar structure: Participation from government, private, nonprofit, and treatment partners sitting on a panel.

Recovering addicts will tell their personal stories which Wheeler says can be the most impactful part because it's not just a nameless, faceless figure speaking but instead a real person.

An in-depth question and answer period will also take place to inform parents on resources and where to turn. 

Again, it's on Tuesday, October 24 at Corning-Painted Post High School at 6:00 P.M. The address is 201 Cantigney St in Corning. 


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