Plattsburgh State has a new program coming to campus this April to help students who struggle with substance abuse.

Drug-related overdose rates have reached an all-time high. About 125 Americans die each day, according to a 2015 New York Times article. This clinic, which will be located in Hawkins Hall, room 053E, is an attempt to halt those rising numbers.

“Addiction is a major hurdle for most people,” Vice President of Student Affairs Bryan Hartman said. “Hopefully, the convenience of this clinic will get the ball rolling for getting help for some.”

At the Champlain Valley Family Center, which will run the clinic, counselors for drug treatment and youth services who specialize in substance abuse will offer their services. Each counselor is certified as Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselors, or CASAC.

The center is the satellite program for drug abuse cases, which means when someone in the area seeks out help, they would go to this office. Now that it is in the basement of Hawkins, all of the services CVFC offers will now be available on campus.

Once enrolled in the satellite program, it is essential for patients to stay enrolled.

“Neutralizing the pleasurable effect of the drug is not enough because reminders of the drug experience perpetuate the longing and cause addicts to stop taking the counteracting medication,” according to a study from Harvard Medical School.

PSUC sociology major Brendan Thomas has witnessed the effects of drug abuse firsthand, and he saw how hard it truly is for those addicted to get help.

“One of my friends last year had his problems, but he really wanted to get help.” Thomas said. “It was then that I knew how serious his addiction was because no matter how hard he tried, or how bad he wanted to get better, he would always go back to using.”

Patients will consist of people who have court-mandated visitations as well as walk-ins, who are looking for the help they need. Although PSUC has provided students in the past with outlets such as the Alcohol and Other Drugs Services program for students, this new clinic will provide the patients with so much more. The clinic will be open to PSUC students.

“In the past, my role has mostly been education prevention,” Alcohol and Other Drug Educator Janis Krug, who has been heading this project, said. “We didn’t have any treatment for someone looking to detox, and we were missing the intervention and treatment component of helping those with substance abuse.”

Krug, along with the staff at CVFC, hope to open the clinic at the end of the month. The opening ceremony of the clinic will be held off until fall 2016. Until that date, Krug and her team still have work to do.

“Everything has been approved,” Krug said. “We’re just still in the process of making everything come together. We still have a couple of boxes that we have to check off.”

Although Krug and her team are making the finishing touches to the clinic, they are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

“This has kind of been my project from the beginning,” Krug said. “It’s something I am very passionate about and I hope it helps as many people as it can.”

Email Kevin Morley at kevin.morley@cardinalpointsonline.com

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