Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo is seeking an increase in funding for addiction prevention programs in the upcoming New York state budget. In a letter to Governor Cuomo, Lupardo focuses on two Binghamton programs that she says have worked in the past. The Student Assistance Program, or SAP, is a school-based program from Lourdes Hospital that puts certified prevention counselors into schools.
Jill Alford-Hammitt is the program manager. She says before money dried up, they had counseling programs in 10 school districts and today, they’re in only four. She wants to reach the developing minds of middle schoolers. “If they start introducing those substances to their brain, they are more likely to become addicted and they can become addicted more rapidly,” she says.
Alford-Hammitt says a full-time counselor would cost them $35,000 annually per school.
A program at Fairview Recovery Services is also looking to the state for money. Michele Napolitano is the executive director at Fairview. She says in the past, they had offered more case management services to addicts that kept them accountable even for their seemingly small goals.
“It could be ‘I’m going to make it to my psychiatrist appointment on a regular basis,'” she says. “That simple. And [case managers] would help them get to that appointment until they were able to do it on their own.”
The state funding for that particular case management program ended in 2009.
The legislative session in Albany starts on January 6th.