Rural Upstate New York Drug Problems Focus of Binghamton Univ. Conference


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BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG) – Drug use in upstate New York was the focus of a conference at Binghamton University on Friday. The topics ranged from solutions in rural communities to the challenges in local politics. 

The keynote speaker was Shannon Monnat, a Syracuse University researcher. She reminded attendees that upstate communities deal with other drug problems besides opioids. If solutions for the opioid crisis ignore underlying economic and social causes, she says they’ll be useless when the next crisis hits.

The audience also heard about solutions. For example, an ER doctor from Syracuse plans to use a telemedicine van to bring medical alternatives, like bupenorphine and Suboxone to rural areas where access is limited because of lack of transportation.

Travis Brooks is the Ithaca Plan Coordinator. He says, community members should find common ground, unite around clear policy priorities, and engage in local politics. Once you’re focused on those priorities, he says, don’t get distracted by polarizing beliefs.

Participants and panelists came from different experiences but throughout the day they agreed that incarceration will not help solve the drug use issues of upstate New York.