MONROE COUNTY, N.Y. (WROC) — Part of Monroe County’s 2022 budget is sets aside funds to expand a fairly new addiction response team.
IMPACT stands for Improving Addiction Coordination Team. A group of 6 trained counselors respond to overdoses in Monroe County, alongside police.
By the end of 2022, IMPACT will have enough staff to respond 24/7.
Program Director Aaron Cignarale says they’ve had a successful first year. The idea came from County Executive Adam Bello in an effort to help address the Opioid Epidemic and respond to overdoses, both fatal and non-fatal.
“There are programs calling people following up via telecommunications, but we are the only ones I know of that go out there meet them face to face,” said Cignarale.
He calls it a hands-on approach with a focus on continuing those one-on-one relationships, months after the overdose.
Cignarale says expanding to a 24/7 operation is game-changing.
“We get overdoses that are two in the morning, five in the morning,” Cignarale said. “We have people overdosing bookstores, in malls, public transportation.”
With the money in the county budget they can bring on more staff, and expand their reach to everyone. That means the general public: through education, events and Narcan giveaways.
“Getting Narcan into pockets, purses, backpacks of people in the area, is going to be the biggest thing the community can do to keep people alive,” Cignarale said. “You all in the entire communities could be superheroes with the press of a button.
The expansion will take place in a phased approach, with the goal to be fully 24/7 by the end of 2022.
IMPACT is not to be confused with the PIC team or FIT team. Those are also addiction support services, but more on the mental health side.