Coalition aims at preventing substance abuse in Steuben

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BATH, N.Y. (WETM-TV) – In Steuben County and across the nation, some substance abusers harm their pets to get drugs from unwary veterinarians, according to Connie Terry, during her recent presentation to the county

Legislature’s Human Services Health and Education Committee.“The stories I could tell you,” said Terry, the Steuben Prevention Coalition’s Opioid Committee program assistant. “Sometimes it’s hard to sleep at night.”

Preventing substance abuse before it begins is the basis of the coalition, which conducts a bi-annual survey to determine the attitudes and opinions of Steuben’s school students in eighth, 10th, and 12th grades towards alcohol, marijuana, tobacco, and other drug use.

The youth survey and a second, community, survey form the basis for government funds and anti-abuse campaigns by the coalition at prevention, including a series of videos featuring Steuben youth. Previous public annual campaigns in Steuben, such as the popular Stand Up For Recovery Day were delayed this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but plans are underway for other public awareness activities and events.

Those events activities include working with funeral homes to remind families to dispose of prescriptive medications previously needed by the deceased and with real estate agents to provide lockboxes in homes up for sale, Terry said.

She said the group will be reaching out to area pharmacies soon to encourage them to distribute disposal packets, sell medication lock boxes and educate their customers about opioid safety
The coalition also works closely with county agencies, according to Terry.

Despite the safety protocols arising from the pandemic in the county, plans are underway for the annual Recovery Walk Sept. 19 in partnership with Steuben County Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services, an opioid forum and a drug Take-Back Day later this fall with the county Sheriff’s Department, Terry said.

The coalition also is looking at a survey of county residents in the 20-40-year-old bracket and developing a new survey for college campuses.

“What we want to get across is there is hope out there,” Terry said. “And there is help out here In Steuben County.

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