Fifteen new detox beds are coming to Monroe County, where advocates and families have long been calling for additional addiction treatment facilities.
The additional beds, funded by a $1 million state grant, will not quite double the 25 currently available in the county. The new beds will be administered by Helio Health, which changed its name from Syracuse Behavioral Healthcare in June.
Mark Assini, the Gates town supervisor, has been calling for more local detox beds for months. WXXI reported on his questioning of the county’s Opioid Task Force in January, when he sought to find out how many beds were available. “How many do we have, how many do we need?” he asked. “‘We don’t know,’ that’s not the right answer.”
Now, Assini said, he’s grateful for the action from the county and the state. “Pleas from the families who have been suffering were listened to and answered,” he said.
But adding 15 more detox beds to the county’s stock will not solve the opioid crisis, Assini said. It won’t even be enough to meet the current demand. Dave Attridge, who runs organizations aimed at getting people addicted to opioids into recovery, said earlier this month that a typical day sees 80 to 300 people trying to get into the local beds.
Assini said there’s still a long way to go. “We’re still going to have to place people in treatment beds outside the county, and maybe even outside the state.”
The new beds are designed as short-term, inpatient treatment options. Other, longer-term options got some extra funding from state and federal grants that the county announced earlier in the week. “We’re enhancing the spectrum of care available to those struggling with addiction,” Dinolfo said.
The county’s data shows 675 reported overdoses in 2018, 103 of them fatal. July, the most recent month included in the data, was the deadliest, with 18 fatal overdoses.