(OWEGO, NY) On Saturday, Senator Fred Akshar helped kick off National Recovery Month by joining officials from CASA-Trinity to announce $70,000 in state funding for addiction prevention and recovery services at the Tioga County Allies in Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) Coalition's 2nd Annual Family Fun Day at Marvin Park in Owego.
“We've made substantial progress in pulling the battle against heroin and opioid addiction out of the shadows and getting the entire community involved,” said Senator Fred Akshar. “I've long said that it's a community issue and it requires, community response. We must continue educating our youth and our families, exploring new addiction prevention and treatment options and taking a multifaceted approach to fighting this scourge. The more we can do to prevent young people from becoming substance dependent on the front end, the easier it will be to ensure treatment and support services are there for individuals already battling addiction.”
The $70,000 in funding has been secured in the State Budget and will be administered through the New York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS). CASA-Trinity will use the funding to further their efforts in prevent and reduce youth and community substance abuse in Tioga County through local community programming and collaboration efforts with school districts and local businesses.
Christina Olevano, CASA-Trinity Tioga Prevention Supervisor and Tioga County ASAP Coalition Coordinator, said, “With support from Senator Akshar and other local foundations CASA-Trinity has been able to provide prevention services in all six Tioga County school districts. We have worked in classrooms, with SADD clubs, held leadership building workshops, put on mock crashes, and initiated a part-time Teen Space afterschool and summer program. Scheduling into next school with evidence-based classroom curriculum has already begun and we have reached out to the schools, courts, and juvenile justice to re-launch our Teen Intervene program in Tioga County. Without outside funding sources to support our efforts we would not have the staff capacity to implement the initiatives we are currently working on.”
The funding will help CASA-Trinity maintain a full time Prevention Specialist to work with youth in throughout Tioga County. The Specialist will use unique strategies based on each individual school district through both classroom and after-school programming and evidence-based initiatives like Teen Intervene, a brief intervention for teens who have begun to experiment. Funds will also be used to support community pro-social activities, events and messages which decrease substance abuse risk factors and support building protective factors in Tioga County schools, families, and communities.
“Many families that have battled with substance abuse addiction say that if their children had access to more educational resources, it might have prevented them from ever trying a drug for the first time,” said Akshar. “If we continue focusing on prevention, we will be able to spare our families the countless struggles that come with substance abuse addition and recovery.”
Family Fun Day is sponsored by Tioga Allies in Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) Coalition, an organization dedicated to preventing and reducing youth and community substance abuse through local collaborations that inspire community change.
For more information on addiction recovery assistance or to get involved with Tioga ASAP, please contact Coalition Coordinator Christina Olevano at 607-223-4066.