News : Sullivan County Launches Drug-addiction Helpline
Monticello, NY, USA, July 14, 2017 -- Sullivan County Legislator Mark McCarthy said that he believes the county’s new addiction information and referral line can help save lives.
In a move that took most of his colleagues by surprise, McCarthy suddenly launched into the story of his own personal battle with addiction at the unveiling of the referral line.
"I sought help on Dec. 15, 1985," said McCarthy, 57. "There were no numbers to call that I knew of, but there was a fellow that I knew that had taken ‘the cure’ as they called it and headed me in the right direction."
McCarthy, a Democrat, took office in January. As vice chairman of the Health & Family Services Committee, he called the project one that is dear to his heart. According to McCarthy, he spent about 10 years being "addicted to everything."
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"I know that you can have a different life if you want one. I lived both. Thank God that the county has the foresight to make something like this available. For some, it will be a lifeline."
McCarthy received a standing ovation from the audience of a few dozen people in the lobby of the Government Center.
According to Sullivan County Health Director Nancy McGrath, 33 county residents died from drug overdoses between 2015 and 2016, and the county coroner’s office believes that as many as 10 residents have died from overdoses this year.
The 24-hour referral line, which is 866-832-5575, went live on Friday. Those seeking information can also send a text to #HOPENY. The phone line will be answered by a county social worker during business hours and by volunteers from Catholic Charities and S.A.L.T. (SullivanAgencies Leading Together) after hours.
The county has purchased billboard space on Route 42 between Fallsburg and Monticello to get the word out about the referral line. The referral information will also be printed onto wallet-sized cards to be handed out throughout the county, McGrath said.
According to McGrath, the program will cost the county almost nothing, since much of it is covered by state grants.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Monday, July 17, 2017
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