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New Help Available to Combat Opioid Crisis


ACR Health has just been notified that it has received funding to establish a Drug User Health Hub, further expanding its existing services for drug users.  The initial grant is for $250,000 for a one-year period beginning July 1, 2017.


Services will include Medically Assisted Treatment, buprenorphine prescribing; opioid overdose prevention and/or aftercare and safety planning for individuals who have experienced overdose; linkage and navigation for substance use treatment; and cultural competency campaigns and training for others providers to ensure medical, mental health, substance use or other services are available and appropriate for people who use drugs.


This funding, allocated from NYS Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services, is in addition to existing funding for ACR Health’s Syringe Exchange Programs (SEP) and Safety First Medical Clinic.   There are currently 2,761 individuals enrolled in SEP.  In January-June, 200 individuals have accessed care at the Medical Clinic.


Alexandra Punch isACR Health’s  Director of Drug User Health with responsibility to manage operation of the Safety First Medical Clinic, Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse services, and Substance Outreach, to help substance users reduce risks and enter treatment when ready. Ms. Punch ensures that programs are responsive to the needs of the community and the cultural, age, and literacy considerations of the priority population. 

    “The opioid crisis is multi-faceted.  It’s important that we recognize and treat the entire individual, not just one aspect of their life,” said Ms. Punch.  “ACR Health’s Department of Drug User Health aims to meet individuals “where they are” and help them navigate the sometimes confusing and daunting road of treatment and/or recovery.”