Mobile addiction treatment unit brings access to care

Mobile addiction treatment and counseling is coming to remote areas of Sullivan County, and borough leaders say they will save lives.

In Monticello, officials announced the presence of a mobile addiction treatment trailer that will be deployed each day in different Sullivan County neighborhoods and staffed by a peer counselor, a nurse and soon a social worker.

The county has partnered with treatment provider Bridge Back to Life for the resource. It is funded with part of the state’s $1.7 billion settlement with drug companies that have fueled the opioid addiction epidemic.

what you need to know

  • Attorney General Letitia James and local leaders unveiled a mobile addiction treatment unit Thursday at Sullivan County Government House
  • Aboard the souped-up trailer, attached to a pickup truck, will be a peer counselor and nurse
  • The newly devolved unit is equipped for telemedicine appointments, which healthcare providers say will be a crucial part of follow-up care

That was great news for county residents like Dave Lauer.

“There’s obviously a drug problem in the city,” Lauer said. He said that while addiction is treatable, there aren’t many ways to help people get clean.

“I struggle with substance abuse myself,” he said. “You have to get that activation energy, then stay ahead of the curve and have something to shoot at.”

Sullivan County continues to outperform the rest of the state and the Mid-Hudson Valley in opioid-related overdose deaths and hospitalizations.

On Thursday, Attorney General Letitia James joined county officials in bringing the mobile unit online.

“Aid in the form of money will come to support all the big organizations and non-profit organizations and to provide much-needed pay rises for people working in human services,” James said.

Lawmakers and pundits who know Sullivan County say a lot has happened over the years that has put the county in a position where it really needed something like this.

“You’re saving lives today,” congregation member Aileen Gunther told James.

As a nurse, Gunther worked in Catskill-Regional’s detoxification department before it closed 20 years ago. She said treatment has since improved but has also become scarcer.

“The difference is that back then you actually had beds you could put heads on. And now we have closed many units. Access to care is not there. So that brings access to care,” Gunther said.

The newly devolved unit is equipped for telemedicine appointments, which healthcare providers say will be a crucial part of follow-up care.

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