Fall Pill Drop held in Allegany County

On Saturday, October 29 the Allegany County Fall Pill Drop was held in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Angelica and Cuba were chosen for the fall locations.  The pill drop event allows the community to drop off unused, expired, or unwanted medications, needles, and provides the opportunity for education on the location of the pill drop boxes in the various communities.

This event was held in partnership with the Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc.(ACASA), the Allegany County Sheriff’s Office, Cuba Police Department, and Partners for Prevention in Allegany County(PPAC). Medications were accepted from 10am to 2pm, and between the two locations, a total of 31 cars participated dropping off 101 pounds of medications, and two boxes of needles.

“It is always great to see continued success year after year since the inception of the Allegany County pill drops. This is an initiative that we will continue to support for years to come,” said Cuba Police Chief Dustin Burch.

Each car that stopped received a Take It To The Box magnet, which lists all of the pill drop box locations throughout Allegany County, which includes: the Allegany County Sheriff’s Office and Nicholson Pharmacy in Belmont, Alfred Pharmacy and Alfred State’s Office of University Police, Cuba Police Department, Cuba Pharmacy, Fillmore Pharmacy, Fisher’s Pharmacy in Wellsville, Friendship Pharmacy, Jones Memorial Hospital in Wellsville, Jones Memorial Medical Practice in Andover and Bolivar, Tri-County Family Medicine in Canaseraga, and the Wellsville Police Department.

“This past spring, we established two more drop box locations at Jones Memorial Medical Practice in Andover and Tri-County Family Medicine in Canaseraga,” said PPAC Coordinator Jon Chaffee. The owners of Cuba Pharmacy and Fisher’s Pharmacy in Wellsville also established their own medication drop boxes earlier this year, which brings the total drop box locations to twelve. “It is important that community members do not hold onto old medications as people who abuse prescription pills usually get them from a family member or close friend without their knowledge,” said Chaffee.

Community members also received a Deterra bag, which allows someone to put up to ninety pills or twelves ounces of fluid in one Deterra bag, add water and crush up the chemical inside to make the medications useless to use by people and harmless to the environment. Once the medications are mixed a person can simply throw the bag away in the garbage.

“The bi-annual pill drop events and the Take It to the Box locations, helps to make sure that it is harder for people to abuse medications in our county,” said Allegany County Sheriff Rick Whitney. “By collecting these medications and having them destroyed we greatly reduce the amount available to find their way on to our streets and into the hands of our youth,” stated Sheriff Whitney.

Allegany County also has free sharps/needle disposal available at all Allegany County Transfer Stations. The days and times that these locations are open are different per location. Below is a list of all the locations.

  • Alfred, 394 Satterlee Hill Road. Open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 8am to 3:30pm.
  • Belmont, 6006 County Road 48. Open Tuesday through Saturday 8am to 3:30pm.
  • Bolivar, 135 Reed Street. Open Wednesday and Saturday 8am to 3:30pm.
  • Canaseraga, 89 West Main Street. Open Saturday 8am to 3:30pm.
  • Caneadea, 9425 Molyneaux Road. Open Wednesday and Saturday 8am to 3:30pm.
  • Cuba/Friendship, 7912 County Road 20. Open Thursday and Saturday 8am to 3:30pm.
  • Wellsville, 77 Dyke Street. Open Tuesday through Saturday 8am to 3:30pm.

For any questions on the Allegany County Sharps Disposal Program contact Recycling Coordinator Tim Palmiter (585) 268-7282.

The agencies involved would like to send out a special “Thank You” to the Angelica and Cuba Fire Departments for giving us a space to hold the pill drop event. The next pill drop event will be held in April, 2023. 

More information about the pill drop box locations can be found at https://ppaccentral.org/takeittothebox/ .

Local Youth Learn about Vaping and Impaired Driving at 2022 SADD Conference

High school students from districts throughout Allegany County filled the Genesee Valley Central School auditorium today to participate in the Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) Conference. The event was to commemorate National Red Ribbon Week, a national celebration promoting the importance for students to live drug-, tobacco- and alcohol-free lives. This year’s theme: “Celebrate Life. Live Drug Free.”

Dr. Richard O’Connor, Professor of Oncology at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, was the keynote speaker. He talked to the students about his research, which focuses on how using cigarettes and vaping can impact health.

The 2021 Risk and Protective Survey that was completed by students in Allegany County reported that 26.1% of high schoolers vape, which is higher than the New York state average of 22.5% for high schoolers. One reason for the higher rate could be easier access to flavored vapes compared to the rest of the state.

In addition to the science behind tobacco use, New York State Trooper O’Callaghan explained new laws about driving while impaired and how police officers determine impairment. Trooper O’Callaghan also went over the increase of arrests from impaired driving from drugs so far in 2022 compared to previous years. Local and national surveys have not shown a large increase in cannabis use for young people but has shown that young people’s perception of harm from cannabis use has decreased continually. It is thought that as states legalize cannabis, it gives young people the idea it is safe to use.

To wrap up the half-day conference, students got their creative juices flowing with a pumpkin carving activity with Eric Jones, who just won the Food Network’s “Outrageous Pumpkins.” Event sponsors wanted the youth to take away the idea that fun, positive, family activities like Halloween decorating, are a healthier alternative to drug, alcohol and tobacco use. Eric ended the event by telling the students, “You can be successful at whatever you are passionate about, but you have to work hard for it.” Follow Eric on Facebook and Instagram to see what he is carving next.

Eric Jones talking to students at the SADD Conference.

The SADD Conference was a partnership between the Allegany County Stop DWI Program, the Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc., Partners for Prevention in Allegany County, and Tobacco Free Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany.

ACASA holds 24th Annual Move-A-Thon

October is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month.  On Saturday, October 1st, the Prevention Department of the Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc., held the 24th annual Bob Weigand Memorial Move-a-Thon at the Angelica Village Office.  Six people and a dog named Wilson participated in this year’s Red Ribbon event, which is held every first Saturday in October in memory of Drug Enforcement Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, who was killed by drug traffickers in 1985.  The purpose of the Move-a-Thon is to promote a drug-free lifestyle through healthy alternatives, and to remind people to wear red ribbons in support of a drug-free America during Red Ribbon Week, October 23rd-31st.  This year’s theme is: “Celebrate Life.  Live Drug Free”.  A national Red Ribbon Week Photo Contest is taking place throughout the month of October with the intent to involve families, neighborhoods, schools, and communities.  View the contest video for more information, including prizes, at https://youtu.be/EPyovFwbiCQ .

Winners of the event by category are as follows:

  • First Place Female Walker was Addison Bradt. 
  • First Place Male Walker was Graham Bradt.
  • First Place Male Cyclist was Shawn Scholla. 

There were no female cyclists or runners present.

The Allegany Council would like to thank the Village of Angelica for allowing the event to take place there, local law enforcement for ensuring safety, Robert Pfuntner for donations, and all those who participated in and supported this special event!

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Observed in October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is a nationwide campaign celebrating the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. In recognition of the important role people with disabilities play in a diverse and inclusive American workforce, this year’s theme is “Disability: Part of the Equity Equation.”

NDEAM’s history dates back to 1945, when Congress declared the first week in October each year as “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1962, the word “physically” was dropped to acknowledge people with all types of disabilities. In 1988, the federal legislature expanded the week to a month and changed the name to National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

“National Disability Employment Awareness Month is a national initiative designed to increase the employment of people with disabilities,” said Christina Lyon, The Arc Allegany-Steuben’s Director of Vocational Services. “Every day, people with disabilities can and do add value to America’s workplaces. The NDEAM campaign’s goal is to drive positive change through the hiring, retention and advancement of people with disabilities in America’s workforce and by illustrating that at work, it’s what people can do that matters.”

“There are a variety of potential financial incentives that a business may utilize when they employ people with disabilities such as the Federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit, NYS Workers with Disabilities Employment Tax Credit, Work Try-Out, On-The-Job Training, Job Coach Services, Architectural/Transportation Tax Deduction and Small Business Tax Credit,” said Lyon. “With so many businesses hiring, it is important to look everywhere for talent. Recruiting should extend to nontraditional sources, including people with physical, mental, and communication disabilities. If you are interested in diversifying your business, please contact me at (585) 593-5700 ext. 227.”

Learn how The Arc Allegany-Steuben’s ACHIEVE Career Consultants provide multiple avenues for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to prepare for and become successful members of the workforce community through avenues such as community and vocational assessments, school to work programs, job placement, supported employment and on-site simulated job training experiences by visiting www.thearcas.org

You can also check out the “What Can You Do” the Campaign for Disability Employment on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Mobile Addiction and Mental Health Services now offered in Allegany County.

Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc. (ACASA) is collaborating with BestSelf to connect individuals who may be reluctant to engage in a clinical setting for addiction and mental health services. This collaboration allows us to become more accessible through the use of a mobile unit. We will be located at Cuba Hospital on the first and third Thursday of each month and Houghton Wesleyan Church the second and fourth Thursday of each month between 10:30 am and 2 pm. Our mobile team consists of a Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) doctor, registered nurse, counselor and a certified recovery peer advocate.

The initial meeting is a walk-in where each individual will have an intake and assessment with the counselor thereafter will be set up with an appointment. Individuals who are interested in the MAT service will meet with the nurse for an assessment then have a session scheduled to meet with the doctor via telehealth. They will also meet with the Certified Recovery Peer Advocate (CRPA) for an intake and will gain support from this advocate. 

Once the individual is stable within their recovery/mental health they will be referred to a clinic where they will continue their services. The CRPA will work with the individual to help remove any barriers, so they are able to engage in a clinical setting for treatment.

For more information on the mobile unit services, call ACASA at 585-593-6738 and ask for Jamie Minderler.

Jamie discussed the mobile treatment unit on the 585 Prevention Podcast, which can be heard below.

33rd National Recovery Month

This September marks the 33rd National Recovery Month, an observance held every September to promote and support new evidence-based treatment and recovery practices, the emergence of a strong and proud recovery community, and the dedication of service providers and community members across the nation who make recovery in all its forms possible.  

“Recovery is for Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, Every Community,” is now the permanent tagline used to celebrate the gains made by those in recovery, just as society celebrates health improvements made by those who are managing other health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma, and heart disease.  A major difference, however, is that the successes of the millions of Americans whose lives have been transformed through recovery often go unnoticed by the general population.  The observance reinforces the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover. 

As part of Recovery Month, #AddictionProfessionalsDay is celebrated on September 20, marking the 30th Anniversary since National Addiction Professionals Day was established by NAADAC (National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors) in 1992 to commemorate the dedicated work that these vital players of the health system and continuum of care do on a daily basis. Visit NAADAC for more information.

Previously, Recovery Month was sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).  In 2020, the federal government “turned the reins over” to the recovery community to sponsor and manage this yearly observance.  Although SAMHSA remains an active Recovery Month Planning Partner and supporter, Faces & Voices of Recovery, a long-standing Recovery Month Planning Partner, now hosts the Recovery Month website, managing the social media outreach, developing and disseminating promotional materials, and is the central location for all Recovery Month events.  More information can be found at the Recovery Month website.

Local counseling is available at the Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc., at 585-593-6738.  Together, we can stop the stigma surrounding mental and substance use disorders, and help more people find the path to hope, health, and overall wellness! 

BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month

July is Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) Mental Health Month. This observance is meant to bring awareness to the unique challenges that racial, ethnic, and sexual marginalized communities face regarding mental illness in the United States.

Studies show that these underserved communities display higher levels of anxiety, depression, suicidal tendencies, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and other mental health disorders.  Society’s deep-rooted prejudice towards these groups is a major cause of feelings of rejection, estrangement, and harassment. Barriers to care include equitable access to care, cultural stigma, and lower quality care all can also play a part in affecting the experiences of underserved communities in the US. 

What’s the connection with gambling? 

Mental Health and gambling go hand-in-hand. Gambling can cause anxiety, depression, stress, and low self-esteem.

Just like with mental health, there is a stigma when it comes to gambling. People who are experiencing problems due to their gambling often have a large amount of shame as well as fear about the amount of debt they have. It can be difficult to reach out for help as they often feel alone and isolated. 

The shame and stigma associated with gambling problems can be further compounded within BIPOC communities. This can be because of a distrust of the medical system, or lack of services for those who are undocumented. In addition, treatment options can be limited for those in underserved communities as service availability may not be equitable, culturally specific or in a client’s native language.

Just like with mental health services, these communities are underserved when it comes to problem gambling support. It is important to continue to have these conversations and advocate for resources for those who are part of these populations. Reach out to your local Problem Gambling Resource Center to identify what resources are currently available, what is missing, and to work in collaboration so that we can better serve our communities. 

If you or someone you love is exhibiting warning signs such as being absent from friend/family events because of gambling; feeling stressed or anxious when not gambling; low work performance due to absence or preoccupation with gambling; or lying to family and friends about how much money and time is spent on gambling, it may be time to reach out to the Western Problem Gambling Resource Center.

For more information or to get help call (716) 833-4274 or email WesternPGRC@nyproblemgambling.org

ACASA holds 2022 Virtual AHSSUM Camp

The Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc. (ACASA) held the 30th AHSSUM Camp from July 11th-July 14th.  For the second year in a row, Camp was held virtually on Zoom.  Each day for two hours, campers from Allegany County participated in guest speaker presentations and crafts.   AHSSUM – “A Happenin’ Safe Summer for U and Me” is a no-cost camp promoting positive alternatives for Allegany County youth ages 8 to 12 years old.  Parents registered their children on-line and supplies were delivered to the participants in-person prior to the start of camp week.

This year’s theme was “Geocaching”.  Day one’s theme was “Finding Your Way to Outdoor Adventures”, presented by Forest Ranger Justin Thaine.  Campers received their own compass as part of their supplies and viewed a pre-recorded video of DEC Officer Thaine in Plum Bottom State Forest explaining how to use a compass.  Following the video, Scout Master Peter Roeske and Eagle Scout son Will Roeske spoke further on the subject and answered questions posed by the campers.  Craft time consisted of using graph paper to map out one’s bedroom and coloring a map of New York and facts specific to our State. Day two was “Geocaching 101” and Belfast teacher Bruce Harrington spoke to campers about geocaching’s purpose, benefits, rules, history, and his experience.  Day two craft consisted of assembling and painting a wooden puzzle of a flamingo, owl, or peacock.  The theme for day three was “Back to the Future”, at which point time capsules were discussed and ACASA staff took turns highlighting specifics about the year they were born.  The craft for this day was assembly and painting of a wooden bird house.  Day four was “Get Outside and Experience Nature”.  Campers viewed a pre-recorded video of Genesee Valley Principal Brian Edmister, co-owner of Healing Waters, who encouraged them to enjoy the outdoors this summer.  Other related videos regarding kayaking were viewed and discussed.  Campers, on day four, had the option of making a milk box carton boat or an egg carton boat.  Most campers made both kinds.  Bingo was played on the final day and winners received art supplies or Legos as their prize. 

Throughout the week, campers were given an opportunity to find historical landmarks in Allegany County and geocache bags in eight different geocache locations.  Campers who posted photos of themselves with their daily crafts on the AHSSUM Camp Facebook page, or emailed photos to ACASA staff, were entered into a drawing to win a Healing Waters kayak trip for a family of five on the final day of AHSSUM.

The AHSSUM Camp program works with Allegany County school systems and other human service agencies to offer camp to youth within the county.  ACASA would like to acknowledge and thank the guest speakers, Wellsville Burger King, Wellsville McDonald’s, Saputo Dairy, and Upstate Dairy for various donations, and the sponsors of this camp: The Dr. Lyle F. Renodin Foundation – “Affiliated with the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, NY”, Allegany County Youth Bureau, and ACASA. 

For more information on attending or sponsoring AHSSUM Camp next year, please contact the ACASA Prevention Department at 585-593-1920, ext. 719.

Local Youth Mobilize Against Big Tobacco in Albany

Youth Raised Awareness of Flavored Tobacco Products, Participated in Altria Shareholders’ Meeting

First row, far left Ritney Castine from Center for Black Health and Equity, middle teens from Reality Check of NY and Dover Youth 2 Youth of New Hampshire, far right retired Director of NYS Tobacco Control Harlan Juster.

On May 19, five teen leaders from Tobacco-Free Chautauqua, Cattraugus, Allegany Counties (TFCCA) in joined other youth from around New York State, as well as Delaware, to call on Big Tobacco to voluntarily remove all flavors, in all their products, for all people. The live rally in West Capitol Park in Albany, NY, took place as Altria Group (Philip Morris USA) was holding their annual shareholders’ meeting, and was livestreamed to young people across the country who participated virtually. The united effort highlighted the tobacco industry’s use of flavored tobacco (including menthol) to target specific populations and drive initiation of and dependence of products harmful to their health.

Speakers at the youth-led press event included Ritney Castine, a health advocate and leader with the Center for Black Health and Equity and Harlan Juster, PhD, retired Director of Tobacco Control for the New York State Department of Health. Youth leaders Louisa Pelletier of Dover Youth to Youth and Kristina Donders of New York State Reality Check also spoke.

“While the tobacco industry constantly denies that they target youth with their marketing, you can’t argue with the facts,” said Kristina Donders, NYS Reality Check champion. “The fact is that 85% of e-cigarette users use flavored products.”

”The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced proposed rules that would ban the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars,” said Harlan Juster, PhD, retired Director of Tobacco Control for the New York State Department of Health. “But I believe that state and local communities must pursue banning the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars; in fact, they should ban all flavors, in all products, for all people and not wait for the FDA to act.”

”We know that 40,000 African Americans die each year due to tobacco-related illnesses and that the overwhelming majority of Black Americans who smoke cigarettes use menthol products,” said Ritney Castine of the Center for Black Health and Equity. “The time is now for New York to ban the sale of menthol cigarettes and save lives.”

In preparation for Thursday’s in-person demonstration, youth spent Wednesday doing team-building exercises, planning the rally, learning about tobacco control policies, and how they can stand up, speak out and make a difference in the fight against big tobacco. Trainers were from Corporate AccountabilityCounter ToolsDover Youth 2 Youth, and the Hawaii Youth Council.

The press rally was part of a bigger effort, the third annual Mobilize Against Tobacco Lies (MATL 2022). Teens from Dover Youth 2 Youth in New Hampshire, the Kick Butts Generation in Delaware and Reality Check in New York were in-person in Albany, while youth leaders from Texas, Arkansas and Hawaii participated virtually.

Some youth took their demands right to the top – the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Altria Group, Billy Gifford. Teens from Dover Youth 2 YouthNew York State Reality CheckTexas Say WhatHawaii Youth Council and Project Prevent in Arkansas were made a designee for a shareholder to address corporate tobacco executives and ask questions during the virtual shareholders’ meeting while others spoke out on social media.

For more information on Mobilize Against Tobacco Lies follow them on Facebook, @mobilizeagainsttobaccolies on Instagram, @Tobacco_LIES on Twitter, or check out their website.

Double Trouble: Substance Use and Mental Health

May 8 through the 14 is National Prevention Week. Wednesday, May 11’s theme is Preventing Suicide: Everyone Plays a Role. Mental health and substance use disorders affect people from all walks of life and all age groups. These illnesses are common, recurrent, and often serious, but they are treatable, and many people do recover. Mental disorders involve changes in thinking, mood, and/or behavior. These disorders can affect how we relate to others and make choices. Reaching a level that can be formally diagnosed often depends on a reduction in a person’s ability to function as a result of the disorder (SAMHSA).

For example:

  • Serious mental illness is defined by someone over 18 having (within the past year) a diagnosable mental, behavior, or emotional disorder that causes serious functional impairment that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.
  • For people under the age of 18, the term “Serious Emotional Disturbance” refers to a diagnosable mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder in the past year, which resulted in functional impairment that substantially interferes with or limits the child’s role or functioning in family, school, or community activities.
  • Substance use disorders occur when the recurrent use of alcohol and/or drugs causes clinically significant impairment, including health problems, disability, and failure to meet major responsibilities at work, school, or home.

The abuse of alcohol or drugs is second to depression as the most frequent risk factor for suicidal behavior. The risks increase if substance use disorder (SUD) co-occurs with depression (major depressive disorder) or other mental health disorders such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Anxiety Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, and some personality disorders. Those who experience depression, or these other disorders often turn to drugs or alcohol as coping measures which can sometimes evolve into SUD.

Alcohol and some drugs can lead to suicidality through loss of inhibition, impulsivity, and impaired judgement. SUD can also lead to changes in the brain that result in depression over time and can be disruptive to relationships—causing isolation and a loss of social connection. Furthermore, they can be a means to ease the distress associated with carrying out the act of suicide.

Risk Factors for Suicide

Risk factors are factors that can increase the possibility of someone making the decision of taking their own life. There are several risk factors that can lead to suicide. These risk factors include:

  • Substance use disorder that coincide with other disorder such as: Depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Anxiety Disorder, and Some Personality Disorders.
  • Substance Use Disorder.
  • Stressful life events.
  • Chronic pain.
  • Living alone.
  • Lack of social support.
  • History of childhood abuse.
  • High aggression/impulsivity.
  • Feelings of hopelessness.
  • Sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • History of suicidal behavior.

Protective Factors for Suicide

There are some individual characteristics and things we can do in communities that may help protect people from suicidal thoughts and behavior. There is not as much research about these protective factors as there is about risk factors but identifying and understanding them is especially important. These protective factors include:

  • Identifying reasons for living.
  • Being clean and sober.
  • Coping and problem-solving skills.
  • Connections to friends, family, and community support.
  • Limited access to lethal means.
  • Availability of physical and mental health care.
  • Having a trusting relationship with counsellors, physicians, and other service providers.
  • Employment.
  • Religious attendance/ and or internalized spiritual teachings against suicide.
  • Attendance to SUD support groups.
  • Optimistic perspective on life.

Demographics – Special Populations


A key risk factor that often underlies suicidal and substance use behaviors is poor impulse control. Adolescent substance use may increase the risk for suicidal behavior due to both acute and long-term effects. Stressful life events, both traumatic and interpersonal, are shown to contribute to suicide risk in adolescents. Additionally, nearly 52% of NYS students in grades 7-12 reported their parents had never talked to them about the dangers of underage drinking. If you know your child is using alcohol, drugs, or tobacco, you have good reason to be concerned. You may feel helpless, fearful and even ashamed, but you CAN do something. Contact the Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse for help at 585-593-6738 or call HOPENY at 1-877-846-7369.

Sex and Gender Differences

Men are more likely than women to use almost all types of illicit drugs, and illicit drug use is more likely to result in emergency department visits or overdose deaths for men than for women. “Illicit” refers to use of illegal drugs, including marijuana (according to federal law) and misuse of prescription drugs. For most age groups, men have higher rates of use or dependence on illicit drugs and alcohol than do women. However, women are just as likely as men to develop a substance use disorder. In addition, women may be more susceptible to craving and relapse, which are key phases of the addiction cycle.

Middle Aged Males

Middle-age and older men that are dependent on alcohol and have mood disorders are at an elevated risk of suicide. Instead of talking about stress or trying to seek help for their depression men will often mask their stress and deal with their depression through harmful behaviors and actions. Depression is a common risk factor that might turn into other dangerous behaviors such as, denial of illness, and reliance of self-medicating strategies.

65 and older

While illicit drug use typically declines after young adulthood, nearly 1 million adults aged 65 and older live with a substance use disorder (SUD), as reported in 2018 data. Physical risk factors for substance use disorders in older adults can include chronic pain; physical disabilities or reduced mobility; transitions in living or care situations; loss of loved ones; forced retirement or change in income; poor health status; chronic illness; and taking a lot of medicines and supplements. Psychiatric risk factors include avoidance coping style; history of substance use disorders; previous or current mental illness; and feeling socially isolated.

How YOU can support Mental Health for All:

Mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and substance misuse can affect anyone. Whether for a brief period of time or a chronic problem, While 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime, everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health.

To ensure mental health for all and prevent suicide, we need your help to reduce stigma, build awareness, and support those at-risk for suicide. You have the strength and power to reach out and save a life. Knowledge, awareness, advocacy, and empathy are the tools you may already have.

Recovery is possible. There is not a criteria that you check off and then all of a sudden you are considered “recovered”. Recovery looks different for everyone, and progress is measured differently. Recovery is a winding road, with twists and turns and possible pitfalls here and there – and that is okay. Be kind to yourself and to others, accept and learn from your mistakes or lapses. Celebrate progress, whether it is yours or a loved ones.

Together We Can Prevent Suicide…Prevention Works!


  • If your life or someone you know is in imminent danger, CALL 911
  • Offer help and support; listen
  • Assess the environment for your safety and theirs – Remove any objects that may be used for harm
  • Stay with the person until assistance arrives
  • For additional help call:
    • Allegany County Crisis Hotline at 1-888-448-3367.
    • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (5233).
    • Text the word “hello” to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.


Join the Allegany County Suicide Prevention Coalition at any of our upcoming workshops; including SafeTalk, Talk Saves Lives, ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training), and Youth Mental Health First Aid, or share your time and support as a member of the Coalition.

Are you a survivor of suicide loss? We can help connect you to local support groups.

To learn more, like us on Facebook at Allegany County Suicide Prevention Coalition or call Jose Soto at 585-610-9765.