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New program helps fight opioid use

A new program through the Western Tidewater Community Services Board is helping prevent opioid misuse and provide treatment and recovery support for those in need.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the State Opioid Response Team has re-launched services via secure phone or video appointments, according to Gabrielle Pascual, manager and clinical training manager for the Western Tidewater Community Services Board.

Services in the program include individual counseling, group therapy, family therapy, case management services, support from peer support specialists and virtual linkage to support meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

Pascual said the program is grant-funded and much needed.

“WTCSB believes there is an unmet need within our community surrounding opioid misuse,” Pascual said.

She noted that in 2018, there were 67,367 drug overdose deaths in the United States, with 46,802 of them involving opioids. In Virginia, three Virginians died daily from opioid overdose. That same year, in Suffolk, there were about seven deaths involving opioids per 100,000 residents. She noted those numbers do not measure how many lives may have been lost were it not for life-saving measures like Narcan.

The program is also assisting the WTCSB prevention department in providing a course to teach community members how to administer Narcan.

The program is accepting new clients. Call 262-6690 to start the process.