Steuben Public Health plan tackling substance abuse

Local News

In response to the current opioid crisis in Steuben County, the county Public Health Department expects to work with other county agencies to curb the substance abuse epidemic.

The response is one of the three primary concerns resulting from the Health Priorities Setting Meeting
May 7 for the 2019- Steuben’s Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP).

“Many of our partner agencies are also working to combat the opioid crisis currently and there needs to be action taken now before deaths continue to rise dramatically,” said county Public Health Director Darlene Smith. “Given the vast amount of work that various agencies in the county have already invested in the opioid epidemic it made sense to make it a health priority and work with the other agencies.”

Steuben Public Health also must work under the state Department Of Health’s guidelines and expects to decide in August what exact role it can take in the fight against substance abuse, Smith said.

The substance abuse goal is one of three goals set at the May 7 meeting – a mark of its high importance to the community, since the state only requires Steuben’s CHIP to have two priorities.

“This group is to be commended for taking on the extra work,” Smith said. “But there is no doubt drug
abuse is a public health crisis and we will be glad to participate in any way we can.”

Steuben Public Health now provides training in NARCAN – an opioid overdose reversal medication.

The other priorities set at the meeting in May will re-establish current goals. They are:

  • Promoting healthy infants, women and children, with a focus on child and adolescent health.
  • Tobacco prevention.

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