Campaign Aims to Reduce Opioid Overdose Deaths Through Medication Treatment Retention in Chautauqua County

Cropped David Kessler / CC BY-SA 2.0

MAYVILLE, NY (WNY News Now) – A campaign is set to launch on August 7, 2023, aimed at curbing historic levels of opioid-related overdose deaths in Chautauqua County through improved medication treatment retention.

With opioid-related overdose deaths reaching alarming levels in Chautauqua County since 2021, a new initiative is on the horizon. An estimated 2.1 million Americans grapple with opioid use disorder (OUD), and the gravity of this issue is mirrored in the county.

What many fail to realize is that OUD is a medical condition marked by the inability to halt the use of addictive substances despite the harm they cause. Addiction, contrary to common beliefs, is a chronic brain disease, not a matter of willpower. Recovery from OUD necessitates more than mere determination, with medications emerging as a viable solution. FDA-approved medications such as methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone can significantly lower the risk of relapse and overdose. The longer an individual remains in medication treatment, the higher the likelihood of successful recovery. Yet, challenges tied to medication treatment’s accessibility and acceptance remain prevalent.

To confront these hurdles head-on, the HEALing Communities Study is poised to kick off a groundbreaking campaign from August 7 to October 6, 2023, with a focused approach on Staying in Medication Treatment. This unique endeavor aims to:

  • Educate individuals with OUD and their supporters on the significance of medication treatment in recovery
  • Offer insights into surmounting common obstacles to retaining treatment
  • Enhance the support network for those undergoing medication treatment

Throughout the campaign, real-life individuals will share their compelling narratives about triumphing over challenges associated with maintaining medication treatment. These stories will touch on various treatment obstacles, including managing anxiety and depression, coping with cravings and triggers, securing recovery support that embraces medication-based treatment, and seeking assistance from loved ones.

Jessica, a resident of Chautauqua County, has been on a recovery path for five years, relying on Suboxone® medication. She emphasizes, “Being addicted to heroin pretty much ruined my life in every way that you could possibly imagine… It’s much better for me taking Suboxone every day than doing what I used to do.”

Deb Maggio, Study Communications Lead, expressed gratitude for these personal testimonials, aiming to inspire others to integrate medication treatment into their recovery strategies.

Individuals are encouraged to make a positive impact by embracing Medication for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) treatment and supporting their loved ones through the journey.

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