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Monroe County addressing substance abuse with online resources

Local health leaders warn about the additional strain placed on substance abuse sufferers and those dealing with depression by the coronavirus pandemic.

Kimberly Butler, a clinical and forensic expert at Monroe County Office of Mental Health, thinks that individuals undergoing treatment may believe there are inadequate resources available.

But, county officials want to emphasise that telehealth and other online programs should still be a valid source of help.

There is a new initiative through Monroe County, which includes conducting Narcan training in a virtual environment.

Weekly lessons are available, so anyone interested is invited to complete registration online.

According to officials, substance issues are still an issue during the pandemic.

While remaining operational, care centres have reduced capacities to see patients because of social distancing rules.

Jason Teller, a substance abuse expert at the Office of Mental Health, warns that the centres are seeing fewer users than would be considered normal and noted a steep drop off in drug testing.

He believes it is important to get the word out to people that there is a virtual alternative available, so they can get the help they need.

The county has seen almost 250 non-fatal overdoses so far this year, compared to around 200 during the same period in 2019.

Butler advised that we should reach out to friends or colleagues who appear to be struggling with similar issues, and point them to virtual resources.

In these trying times, support remains crucial.

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