Four programs split $25,000 grant to fight drug epidemic in Broome County

(WBNG) — As the heroin and opioid epidemic continues across the Southern Tier, Broome County is granting $25,000 to local organizations with a focus on saving lives. 

"We awarded proposals to Broome-Tioga BOCES, Southern Tier AIDS Program, Boys and Girls Club of Western Broome, and Truth Pharm," said Broome County Executive Jason Garnar. "All these organizations are doing a lot of great work, and we wanted to see them do more of the work and they need a little bit more funding to do that."

Broome-Tioga BOCES will use the funding to bolster programming.

"I think the funding will be a great boost for the programs, especially for the after school activities to promote healthy lifestyles for the students that we serve," said Broome-Tioga BOCES Assistant Superintendent Jim Mullins.

The Boys and Girls Club of Western Broome will put the funding toward its Smart Moves program, which is an opioid addiction prevention program.

They hope to add five students to the 11 students already in the program by September.

Truth Pharm will expand its educational "Shauna Has A Secret" program, which can help parents spot signs of addiction in their children.

They will also use the money to work with fast food restaurants and gas stations, where some overdoses occur in bathrooms.

"What we want to do is go in and provide training for those facilities, their employees, also, on the signs and symptoms of use and then how to recognize someone overdosing and how to respond to it and save their lives," said Truth Pharm Executive Director Alexis Pleus.

And the Southern Tier AIDS Program will add two additional Youth Peer Educators to its support staff. Those educators have experience with substance abuse.

They say peer-to-peer counseling has a proven track record of success, especially in youth populations.

"Putting some money into prevention, education, and connecting people to treatment is well worth it," said Garnar. "It’s going to save lives and you can’t put a dollar amount on that."

The organizations must use the funding by the end of this calendar year.

Garnar says that the county will continue funding grants as the opioid epidemic continues in Broome County.

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