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Cayuga County News

Posted on: November 4, 2019

Cayuga County Selected to Participate in Study to Reduce Opioid Deaths

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Cayuga County will participate in the HEALing Communities Research Study with the goal of reducing opioid deaths by 40% over four years. Cayuga County is one of 67 communities in four states that were selected to take part in this ground-breaking $350 million study.

Columbia University was awarded $86 million to lead the research effort among the 16 participating communities in New York where 3,224 people died in 2017 of overdoses involving opioids. Communities that experience many opioid overdose deaths were chosen, with a focus on rural communities, to test evidence-based practices and reduce the stigma of opioid use disorder and treatment.

Communities were randomly assigned into two groups that will receive intervention services at different times to be able to compare their impact. Cayuga County was assigned to start its intervention phase in 2019 while the second group will start intervention in 2021. Regardless of the random assignment, all participating communities are at the leading edge of this life-saving national initiative and stand to benefit from its outcomes.

The Columbia University research team will present a study outline to the Cayuga County Alcohol and Substance Abuse Sub-Committee on Wednesday, November 6th at noon at 34 Wright Avenue in Auburn. A meeting with the local study steering committee will follow. 

“We are excited to be part of this large-scale effort to find answers together and compare notes on outcomes,” said Raymond Bizzari, County Mental Health Commissioner, “We are ready to get to work with our community partners and get even more evidence-based opioid treatment to people in Cayuga County.”

 “Cayuga County is fortunate to have many community and grassroots organizations working closely with the County Mental Health Department to educate the community and combat opioid deaths,” said Elane Daly, Chair of the County Health & Human Services Committee, “I am happy to be part of the steering committee for this important initiative that will bring more resources to our communities.”

 “Most of us know someone who has been affected by this terrible epidemic and we all want to learn what works to fight it,” said Monika Salvage, Project Manager for HEALing Communities Study, “I can’t wait to start work with our local organizations and study partners around the country to find the most effective ways to reduce opioid deaths.”

Part of the National Institute of Health’s HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-term) Initiative, the HEALing Communities Study is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse along with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. HEAL is a large effort to find scientific solutions to stop opioid overdoses. For more information on the study and its participants, visit the HEALing Communities Study project page.

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