Drug counseling service comes to Smithtown

Drug counseling service comes to Smithtown

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CN Guidance & Counseling Services is setting up shop at Horizons Counseling & Education Center on Main Street in Smithtown. Photo by Jared Cantor

The fight against drug abuse has a new home in Smithtown.

In response to a multiyear surge of heroin and opiate pill use across the North Shore and greater Long Island, CN Guidance & Counseling Services, which works on addressing substance use and mental health disorders, has launched outpatient detoxification and withdrawal support services to residents of Smithtown.

Two new sites — one at Horizons Counseling & Education Center at 161 East Main St. in Smithtown and the other at CN Guidance’s main office at 950 S. Oyster Bay Road in Hicksville — have begun delivering a combination of services to local residents addicted to opiates. The services, supported by funds from both county governments, include assessment, detoxification, symptom relief with addiction medications, monitoring of vital signs and instant connection to longer-term treatment and relapse prevention.

Heroin killed a record-high 144 people on Long Island in 2013, a death toll increasing 91 percent in Nassau County and 163 percent in Suffolk County since just 2010, CN said in a statement. Opioid pills, including oxycodone, were linked to 343 additional deaths on Long Island in 2012 and 2013.

“We are filling a critical gap,” said Jeffrey Friedman, chief executive officer of CN Guidance. “The havoc connected to untreated opiate addiction on Long Island has been slicing through our Long Island families and communities. These new outpatient detoxification and support services are enabling opiate-addicted individuals — and their families — to receive the help they need immediately, with no lag in connection to the longer-term treatment and recovery services they need after detoxification. If you know someone in need, please call us.”

During a studied nine-month period in 2013, 4,409 individuals requested detoxification services in Nassau County, but only 26 percent, or 1,157, were actually admitted, according to Nassau County’s Department of Human Services, Office of Mental Health, Chemical Dependency and Developmental Disabilities Services. Suffolk County struggles analogously.

Data from the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services show that 85 percent of detoxification in New York State is done in hospitals, often with long waits, at high costs and lacking results, whereas other states use such hospital-based detoxification primarily for medically or psychiatrically complicated cases. The new outpatient programs offer an alternative for the many residents who face mild to moderate severity of withdrawal from opiates, rather than severe withdrawal most commonly associated with emergency-level crises.

Because CN Guidance is a comprehensive behavioral health services provider that offers full-service care coordination, it is able to link clients in the new outpatient programs immediately to a whole array of often- needed services ranging from mental health counseling and treatment to long-term substance use treatment.

Residents and other service providers in either county may call 516-822-6111 to accesDs the program.