County joins regional addiction center

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Oneida County is now part of a regional addiction center to keep up with the opioid epidemic.

The county Board of Legislators gave the go-ahead to join with five other counties on Wednesday. Oneida County was the last county to formally sign on.

State funded, the center is operated by Syracuse Behavioral Healthcare in Onondaga County. This new center provides a place that anyone with an addiction can go anytime to receive an assessment and to be linked with care. No one will be turned away, regardless of their insurance or financial resources. The state has committed $450,000 over two years.

“This resolution is a big deal,” said Legislator Emil Paparella, R-23, Utica, as board members voted 23-0 in favor of the measure.

No county dollars are required.

Besides Oneida, the Regional Crisis Center for Addiction serves Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga and Oswego counties.

The center accepts walk-ins and drop-offs any time day or night. First responders, law enforcement and hospital emergency rooms in the six counties have been contacted to establish a process on how to get people to the Syracuse location.

“I think this model is gong to be very successful,” county Mental Health Commissioner Robin E. O’Brien told the legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee on Tuesday.

County directors of mental hygiene collaborated to secure the funds from the state’s Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services to establish the facility.

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