Spreading awareness on addiction and ending stigmas

CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Ken Provost’s son Dan was only 23 years old when he lost his life to addiction.

“He was a wonderful child,” he said. “We’re a very middle-class family… Very close family… He was into sports…into animals.”

Dan’s mother, Maureen Provost, said the issues started when he was prescribed Oxycodone after his wisdom teeth were removed.

“From there, it just went into more drugs, more drinking, and so from something very innocuous to a lifetime of changes,” she said.

Capt. Dan Morley, Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office, says addiction has no boundaries.

“It’s very easy to look at the dots on a map and lose sight of the fact that it’s somebody’s kid, or somebody’s husband, somebody’s wife. Removing the stigma is absolutely huge. Stigma is what kills people.”

That is why Dr. Chinazo Cunningham, MD, Commissioner of the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS), said the state is investing tens of millions of dollars in stabilization programs.

“There’s a whole range of services people need. And we need to make sure that when people are ready for each type of services that are available,” Dr. Cunningham said.

Like the new Reintegration Residential Program for Men in Troy, where those with addictions can get the appropriate treatments.

“So that people don’t have to go to emergency rooms,” Dr. Cunningham said. “That people can come to a crisis stabilization center specific for people with substance use or mental health problems.”

Kelly Fahrenkopf, Director of Residential Services, said the stabilization center will be staffed 24 hours a day- seven days a week.

“We have a physician here and a licensed mental health clinician that works here. So, all of the services are here for them.

OASAS has plans to open up more stabilization centers where there is a need, and all insurance plans will be taken- including Medicaid.

Lamar Romeo, Program Manager for the stabilization center in Troy, said these resources are essential- especially in light of the opioid epidemic.

“We are an agency that can take people off the street. Because we also have a stabilization, we can provide services immediately. So people aren’t dying or don’t have access to treatment,” Romeo said.

The Provost family will continue spreading awareness with the Dan Provost Memorial Walk on October 7 at Gavin Park in Saratoga Springs and provide treatment resources for those ready to take the next step toward recovery.

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