Tower Foundation Steps Up Again in Fight against Opioid Abuse

Additional Funds will Support Expansion of Efforts to Train Healthcare Providers

ERIE COUNTY, NY— Erie County Commissioner of Health, Dr. Gale Burstein, today announced the receipt of a $65,742 grant from The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation. This additional funding will assist in training healthcare providers who care for adolescents and young adults to identify and treat their young patients dealing with the disease of addiction. This funding is in addition to the $64,000 previously donated in October 2015.
Tracy Sawicki, Executive Director of The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation said, “The devastating effects of opioid use continue to take an unprecedented toll on our community. As addressing substance use disorders is one of The Tower Foundation’s priorities, we are pleased to be able to support the ongoing efforts of the Erie County Opiate Epidemic Task Force. This investment in healthcare provider training will allow healthcare professionals to identify young patients struggling with substance use and offer improved treatment and support to their adolescent and young adult patients dealing with the disease of addiction.”
“This funding will support educational programs for Erie County healthcare providers caring for adolescents and young adults,”stated Burstein. The award will support health care providers to use age-appropriate, validated, screening tools to identify substance use among youth and provide a brief, office-based intervention for mild to moderate substance use or refer patients identified with a severe substance use disorder to appropriate treatment. The award will also support training physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants to become certified to prescribe buprenorphine for medication assisted treatment (“MAT”) for youth with opioid addiction. This allows the patient flexibility to take their medication at home rather than in a clinic setting. The goal is to increase the number of providers trained and approved to prescribe buprenorphine to adolescents and young adults with an opioid addiction to help alleviate bottlenecks in the treatment continuum.
“By increasing opportunities for identification of youth affected by in the health care setting and effectively treat with MAT, we hope to decrease both the number of Erie County youth who struggle with addiction and addiction’s deleterious consequences,”concluded Burstein.

For More Information contact: Erie County Department of Health The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation or call, Mary C. St. Mary Public Information Officer
Erie County Department of Health, at 716.858.4941, or 716.253.3925