SEVERE WX : Winter Weather Advisory View Alerts

Overdosed in the Mohawk Valley. Part 4: Prevention & Treatment

Dr. Marcellus Cephas, of the Community Recovery Center in Rome, estimates that as many as 75% of the patients he sees were at one time legitimately prescribed an opioid for pain.

Posted: Mar 1, 2018 10:11 AM
Updated: Mar 1, 2018 10:24 AM

Dr. Marcellus Cephas, of the Community Recovery Center in Rome, estimates that as many as 75% of the patients he sees were at one time legitimately prescribed an opioid for pain. The doctor reinforces what addicts already know-that addiction is not a choice.

"Physiologically, the reason people get addicted is because the type of receptor that the opioids actually treats or binds with is a receptor that will develop a need for that medication," says Cephas. "You may actually stop taking the medication, but the receptor has not changed."

Regardless of the addiction's inception, its grip on its victims keeps Rome Memorial Hospital's emergency department busy.

"Opiate use is part of about 39 admissions a month within the ER. It's not just related to overdoses," says Ashlee Thompson, of the CRC.

In central New York, there is an army of health professionals helping addicts beat addiction, doing their best to make sure there are no cracks through which to fall.

"They're on the other side of substance abuse disorders and now they have all this free time. And what do they do with their free time?" asks Kathy Peters, Advocacy Coordinator for the Center for Family Life & Recovery.

The answer, in part, can be found in, "Give it a Whirl," a support group that meets to socialize, share healthy eating tips and recipes as well as other positive ways to pass the time while being reminded that they're not alone. On a Wednesday night in mid-February, occupational therapy students from Utica College were teaching the group smoothie recipes and letting them try hummus. The room was filled with laughter.

At RFA, they beat opioid addiction before it starts, by asking students who get in trouble for alcohol or marijuna to meet with experts from CFLR instead of being suspended from school.

"What we found is pretty much 100% success rate," says Superintendent Peter Blake. "And I can say this year, that any students that has entered the CFLR program has not been a repeat offender of a violation of the code of conduct relevant to substances."

Strides are being made, victories had, and stories told by those victors of beating an addiction they never thought they'd survive. But while the beast might lie dormant, it's never dead; recovery is forever.

"Maybe every other month I just have a fleeting thought what it would be like to get high again...the foundation i have from ...everything and from rehabilitation allows me to play the tape all the way through and know I'll just end up right back where I was," says Tyler hand.

"I'm gonna have to be aware of this my entire life. It's like someone with diabetes. You have it forever," says recovering addict, Thomas Reilly, who oversees the Friends in Recovery, Mohawk Valley, support group meeting.

"I always like to think if there's one breath left, there's hope," says Hand.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1973308

Reported Deaths: 51350
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings2611819909
Queens2604189526
Suffolk1913793303
Nassau1753923102
Bronx1731096365
New York1303844306
Westchester1245352236
Erie805561689
Richmond698671740
Monroe599441033
Orange45583782
Rockland45345941
Onondaga35576660
Dutchess27616433
Albany23409343
Oneida21291497
Niagara17888332
Broome17175348
Saratoga14222160
Ulster12835241
Schenectady12289192
Rensselaer10526136
Putnam1007991
Chautauqua8256132
Chemung7068133
Oswego690990
Ontario676591
Steuben6212141
St. Lawrence613794
Sullivan603268
Cayuga581090
Jefferson540863
Wayne515467
Cattaraugus506880
Genesee5014121
Herkimer4883107
Clinton447232
Madison425785
Tompkins401949
Fulton399786
Livingston394358
Montgomery3842114
Columbia380399
Cortland351560
Warren333756
Tioga333358
Wyoming321751
Allegany314183
Otsego313646
Greene308174
Chenango303173
Washington281355
Orleans271683
Lewis242333
Franklin237512
Delaware211936
Seneca185356
Schoharie152015
Essex148926
Yates109826
Schuyler97913
Hamilton3002
Unassigned184111
Out of NY0216
Rome
Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 38°
Binghamton
Cloudy
38° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 38°
Rome
Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 38°
Rome
Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 38°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve
Enter the Rock Your Body Giveaway from Alivana Aesthetics
Looking for work or looking to hire? Check out the WKTV Job Fair!