CATSKILL — Columbia-Greene Addiction Coalition presented its new website to help those struggling with addiction in the Twin Counties to the Greene County Legislature on Monday.
The coalition is wrapping up the first year of its two-year pilot program with the two counties. Each county contributes $39,000 per year to improve recovery services in the region. The program is also funded by the Healthcare Consortium and was developed with the help of Twin County Recovery Services.
“This new website is the culmination of a year’s research and work that provides the community with a greater understanding of the crisis and our combined efforts to combat the causes,” Greene County Administrator Shaun Groden said in a statement on Tuesday. “I encourage all community members to review the data and understand the resources that are available.”
Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Matt Murell agreed that the website is a move in the right direction.
“This website represents an important step in the ongoing implementation of our Opioid Epidemic Response Plan and an important service to our residents,” Murrell said in a statement Tuesday. “Columbia and Greene counties are maximizing their efforts by collectively tackling the opioid epidemic.”
Columbia-Greene Addiction and Recovery Coordinator Danielle Hotaling presented updated statistics to the Legislature Monday.
“Since 2010, mortalities from opioid overdoses in Greene County have increased from 8.1 per 100,000 to 23.1 per 100,000 in 2017,” Hotaling said. “That is a significant increase.”
In 2016, the number of emergency visits for overdoses caused by heroin was 78.5 per 100,000, Hotaling said.
First responders in the Twin Counties are using the Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program, or ODMAP, to log overdoses geographically, Hotaling said.
“This allows us to discover where spikes occur and develop a response plan,” she said.
So far this year, Greene County has had about twice as many overdoses as Columbia County, Hotaling said.
“We have had 30 suspected overdoses in Greene County in 2019 and 16 in Columbia County,” she said.
Lawmakers questioned what Hotaling meant by “suspected.”
Twin County Recovery Services Executive Director Beth Schuster Services said confirmation of cause of death can take time.
“Hearing from the coroners can be months or over a year,” she said.
Additionally, the most recent data from the state Department of Health on overdoses are from 2016, Hotaling said.
Hotaling brought the Legislature on a virtual tour of the website, page by page.
The site provides information for families such as warning signs to look for and resources for those struggling with addiction including rehab facilities and tips to reduce harm while using.
“We recognize that not everyone is at a place where they are ready to recover,” Hotaling said. “These tips can help save someone’s life and hopefully get them to the point where they are ready to take that step.”
The website also includes a calendar of local events and a map of resources in the area, as well as a glossary of terms. The site was well-received.
“This website is the most profound thing to see come out of this project,” Groden said. “Before there was no way for people to get good, hard data and definitions. That product alone is a home run.”
Groden expressed interest in tracking analytics on the website.
Future projects for the coalition include setting up a school task force and becoming more engaged with local communities, Hotaling said.
“The needs of Catskill and the mountaintop are very different,” she said. “I acknowledge that and I’d like to work with you on that.”
To learm more visit www.columbiagreeneaddictioncoalition.org