The battle with the local opioid epidemic in Steuben County will continue and even expand despite the lack of anticipated funding from the state.
The Comprehensive Opioid Prevention Effort (COPE) is a program that began earlier this year, which focuses on treatment for those on the road to recovery from the Steuben County Jail.
According to the New York State Department of Health, as of last May, there have been about 40 cases regarding opioid overdoses in Steuben County.
“When you look at statistics, the opioid epidemic has disproportionately impacted Steuben County, so we really felt that we had a strong case to get that revenue but unfortunately that didn’t happen,” Jack Wheeler, Steuben County Manager, “We’re hopeful that we get it in the future, but we can’t wait.”
The county manager could not express why Steuben County did not qualify for state funding. Budgeted expenses will fund a new part-time and full-time position for substance abuse counselors with transitional assistance for inmates after release from the county jail.
COPE is a multi-faced program. Not only does it provide treatment, it also focuses on education for high school and middle school students. Enforcement is stressed to prevent drugs from entering the community and prosecuting those responsible for trafficking.