CANTON, NY — St. Lawrence County continues to offer addiction treatment services during the Covid-19 crisis through televideo or telephone visits. St. Lawrence County is also accepting new patients in need of Medication Assisted Treatment for opioid and alcohol use issues. St. Lawrence is able to accommodate individuals in need of addiction treatment with same day visits.
The peers and counselors have doubled their outreach efforts to help reconnect
individuals to these much needed services. Individuals with addiction issues are
considered a vulnerable population as they often have decreased access to health care, housing insecurity, and a greater likelihood for criminal justice contact.
Limited access to health care, places people with addiction at greater risk for illness, particularly if hospitals and clinics begin to exceed their capacity during this public health crisis.
Individuals with addiction, who likely feel stigmatized and underserved by the healthcare system, may experience even greater barriers to treatment for COVID-19.
Community Services is concerned about the impact the COVID-19 will have on
community members that are struggling with addiction issues. People who use opioids at high doses medically or who have Opioid Use Disorder face separate challenges to their respiratory health. Since opioids act on the brainstem to slow breathing, their use not only puts struggling individuals at risk of life-threatening or fatal overdose, it may also cause a harmful decrease in oxygen in the blood (hypoxemia). Lack of oxygen can be especially damaging to the brain; while brain cells can withstand short periods of low oxygen, they can suffer damage when this state persists. Chronic respiratory disease is already known to increase overdose mortality risk among people taking opioids, and thus diminished lung capacity from COVID-19 could similarly endanger this population.
Anyone interested in obtaining addiction treatment services including counseling, peers services, medication assisted treatment, community referrals, and/or access to overdose prevention training should contact St. Lawrence County Chemical Dependency at: (315) 386-2189.