New Hope partnership aims to close treatment gap for addicts

Posted: Updated:
FREEPORT -

A partnership between the Nassau District Attorney's Office, two hospital systems and a drug treatment facility is taking aim at closing the treatment gap for addicts.

"I'm not scared of death, but I don't want to die," says a recovering heroin addict who asked to have his identity concealed. The 30-year-old has been struggling for several years and is now in a treatment facility after an overdose a few years ago.

Experts say there's a critical window a few short hours after someone is revived from an overdose and brought to the emergency room, and before they're discharged, when they may be more open to accepting help.

A new program funded by $600,000 in asset forfeiture money seized by the Nassau DA allows staff from New Hope in Freeport to go to a hospital and transport a patient directly back to the treatment center. But because of federal privacy laws, the patient does have to give hospital staff permission to contact the center.

Once patients are brought to the center, they will remain there until an available bed is found for them at a longer-term treatment facility.

New Hope is able to admit patients directly from hospital emergency rooms 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The center will also be hiring a nurse practitioner and psychiatrist to assist with admissions.

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