One of the nonprofit organizations leading the battle against drug overdoses on Long Island unveiled, this week, a robust yet nimble newcomer to its pioneering mobile fleet: a compact 144-square foot box truck fitted with an onboard exam table, medical refrigeration, workstation, restroom and waiting area. The “Hope Rides Here” truck, staffed by CN Guidance & Counseling Services, will deliver to local residents’ addiction support services, ranging from outreach and education to onboard clinical assessment and treatment, complete with telehealth capabilities to prescribing physicians and nurses.
The new truck, which can fit into parking spots and other tight spaces in communities hardest hit by the twin COVID-19 and opioid crises, joins CN Guidance’s large R.V. that provides similar onboard services and two mini-vans used to transport individuals to specialized programs, such as outpatient detoxification, helping those served to overcome addiction and successfully sustain recovery. The new truck was funded by a grant from the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS).
“This specialized vehicle gives us another tool in the fight to bring equity of access to people struggling with opioid addictions—especially many low-income residents who lack reliable transportation to make their way to a clinic,” CN Guidance CEO Jeffrey Friedman said. “At a time when COVID has resulted in higher levels of depression, substance use and overdoses, the launch of this new vehicle will let us increase medication-assisted treatment in our communities. It will literally save lives.”
Staffed by a registered nurse, case worker and up to two clinicians who collaborate within a larger Mobile Recovery Unit (MRU) team, the vehicle will soon begin rolling into areas of Hempstead, Glen Cove, Massapequa, Long Beach and other Nassau County towns where a combination of high risk factors, scarce transportation and inequity of access to services have persisted.
The year 2020 saw a serious rise in fatal and non-fatal overdoses across Long Island, reversing the prior two years of progress in both counties against a battle that has claimed more than 4,000 lives since 2010. In 2020, fatal overdoses in Nassau County were, at times, 40 to 50 percent higher than the same period in 2019, according to Newsday reporting “Drug Overdoses Increase During Pandemic.”
In addition to accessing the team’s scheduled and spontaneous visits to various neighborhoods, Nassau County residents in need will have the option to schedule a mobile recovery unit visit to their home by contacting CN Guidance & Counseling Services directly. Call 516-822-6111 and ask for the Mobile Recovery Unit.
CN Guidance & Counseling Services launched Nassau County’s first-ever mobile recovery unit, focused on opioid use disorder, in February 2019 as part of its Center of Treatment Innovation (COTI) program, supported by NYS OASAS. The program focuses on an expansion of service-access called “Beyond Our Four Walls.”
—Submitted by CN Guidance & Counseling Services