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What one Binghamton organization is doing to help recovering addicts as isolation takes its toll

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BINGHAMTON (WBNG) -- The isolation that comes with social distancing can be difficult for anyone but experts say it's especially difficult for addicts in recovery who rely on community support.

"We're encouraging people to stay away from others to practice social distancing, but on top of that we know that substance use disorders and mental health are often co-occurring," said Marissa Knapp, Opioid Overdose Prevention Coordinator for the Broome County Health Department.

One activist says this puts addicts who are in recovery at risk of relapse and overdose.

"It causes a person to sit alone with their thoughts and it might be harder for them to be distracted from cravings and their desire to use," said Alexis Pleus, Executive Director of Truth Pharm, an addiction resource center in Binghamton.

Pleus says with the risk of overdose or relapse heightened, her organization decided to take action.

"We've gone virtual with our Narcan training and we will connect people with a person who can do Narcan training either with face time or facebook live," she said.

Pleus says often times Narcan training is about more than just learning how to administer the life saving drug.

"A lot of times in those conversations people are expressing concern for a loved one they can talk about the things they've seen and the issues they've had," she said.

"We're reaching out to all of them to figure out what their specific needs are and we're creating care packages with the hope that it will help them stay home for two weeks," she said.

The organization is also collecting used microwaves to ensure that all individuals in their recovery program are able to heat up the meals provided in the care packages.

Jack Arpey

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