Mobile addiction treatment unit brings access to care

Mobile addiction treatment and counseling is coming to neighborhoods tucked away in remote corners of Sullivan County, and county leaders say it’s going to save lives.

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

The county partnered with treatment provider Bridge Back to Life on the resource. It will be funded with some of the $1.7 billion state settlement with drug companies that 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 the Sullivan County government building
  • On board the souped-up trailer attached to a pickup truck will be a peer counselor and nurse practitioner
  • The newly decaled unit is equipped for telemedicine appointments, which health providers said will be a crucial part of follow-up care

That was great news to county residents such as Dave Lauer.

“There’s obviously a substance abuse problem in the town,” Lauer said. He said while addiction is treatable, there hasn’t been many options around to help people get clean.

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

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

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

“Help in terms of money is coming to support all of the great organizations and not-for-profits, and to provide much needed raises to individuals who work in human services,” James said.

The lawmakers and experts who know Sullivan County say a lot has happened over the years that put the county in this position where they really needed something like this.

“You are saving lives today,” Assembly member Aileen Gunther told James.

A nurse, Gunther used to work in the detox unit at Catskill-Regional before it closed 20 years ago. She said, since then, treatment has improved, but also more scarce.

“The difference is, in those days, you actually had beds to put heads on. And now, we’ve closed a lot of the units. The access to care is not there. So what this does is bring access to care,” Gunther said.

The newly decaled unit is equipped for telemedicine appointments, which health providers said will be a crucial part of follow-up care.


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