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August 1, 2019 - 4:15pm

The GOW Opioid Task Force announces the availability of a Post Narcan Administration Video.

It was created by the Naloxone Work Group of the Task Force and launched at the quarterly meeting last week.

This video emphasizes an important message: individuals should go to the Emergency Department AFTER Narcan has been administered for an opioid overdose.

The Task Force members are very proud of the video and greatly appreciate all of their local partners who participated in this project and Tall Girls Design, the marketing partners who created an end product that surpasses expectations.

The video can be viewed right on their Facebook page here.

It is hoped that you find this video genuine and helpful as the Task Force continue sto work to end the opioid crisis in the GOW region.

Please feel free to share this video and spread this message.

If there are any questions or specific needs for the video please do not hesitate to reach out.

Allison Parry-Gurak 

Project Coordinator

Phone: 815-1889

July 11, 2019 - 3:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in GOW opioid task force, addiction, recovery, aid, news.

A Message to Families from the GOW Opioid Task Force:

By Sue Gagne

Whenever a family member struggles with any serious ongoing condition, everyone in the family is significantly affected. To find out a loved one has a substance use problem can be heart-wrenching.

If you know someone with a substance use disorder, you may find yourself struggling with a number of painful and conflicting emotions, including guilt, shame, self-blame, frustration, anger, sadness, depression, anxiety and fear. Those emotions can often overtake our lives and cause stress, burnout, fatigue, inability to sleep and more issues that can affect our own health.

When you fly on an airplane, the flight attendant instructs you to put your oxygen mask on first, before helping others. Why is this an important rule for ensuring survival? Because if you run out of oxygen, you can’t help anyone else with their oxygen mask. This is an important metaphor for those of us who have loved ones with substance use disorder. A reminder that we need to take care of ourselves.

You may feel overwhelmed, but there are things you can do to help yourself. We all know we need to get enough rest, exercise, and eat right. Here are a few other things that will be helpful:

Learn all you can about substance use and addiction. Addiction is a disease, not a character defect! According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “As a result of scientific research, we know that addiction is a disease that affects both the brain and behavior. We have identified many of the biological and environmental factors and are beginning to search for the genetic variations that contribute to the development and progression of the disease. Scientists use this knowledge to develop effective prevention and treatment approaches that reduce the toll drug abuse takes on individuals, families, and communities.”

Don’t go it alone! Shame is one of the biggest reasons people don’t seek help. It may help you to know that no one, and no family, is immune from addiction. Like any other chronic disorder, addiction to alcohol and other drugs afflicts people regardless of age, income level, educational background, race, ethnicity, religion/spirituality, and community. Many families deal with addiction. You are not alone ~ there is support!

Know that Recovery is Possible! Although it takes time, people do find recovery from addiction. Many individuals find recovery and continue on to live fulfilled lives. There are many pathways to recovery including 12-step meetings, peer-support, Medication Assisted Treatment, and more.

To learn about more about addiction, to connect with support, and to find resources related to addiction and recovery, visit the GOW Opioid Task Force website at www.gowopioidtaskforce.org

February 12, 2019 - 3:11pm
From the GOW Opioid Task Force:
The GOW (Genesee, Orleans, Wyoming) Opioid Task Force is excited to announce the opportunity to become a Peer Recovery Coach.
This training has been grant funded by the Health Resources and Service Administration and therefore is FREE.
Trainees should have a high school diploma or equivalent and lived experience is preferred -- in recovery, affected family member, experience working in the SUD/Recovery field.
Training is six-weeks in length (46 hours total) and you must commit to completing the program. Space is limited!
Training will take place at the Lake Plains Community Care Network at 575 E. Main St. in Batavia. Please check out the website and flier for more information here.
As part of the Community Based Recovery Support Training Project, training is offered to a select group of committed community members seeking to achieve NYS Peer Recovery Professional Certification.
This enables them to serve families and individuals affected by Substance Abuse Disorder with evidence-based recovery supports, skills and strategies.
The workshop facilitators are Lori Drescher (CARC, RCP) and Keith Greer (LCSW, PCC, PRC), who are professional coaches, recovery advocates and facilitators with a combined 55 years of experience.
If you have specific questions please contact Charlotte Crawford at [email protected] or by phone 585-345-6110.
November 19, 2018 - 12:43pm
posted by Billie Owens in byron, GCASA, charity, addiction, recovery, skivvies and spirits, news.

Submitted photos and press release:

Earlier this month, the fourth Annual Skivvies and Spirits event was held at the Byron Fire Hall. This unique event was started three years ago by Wendy and Tony Frongetta, in memory of their good friend, Mikel Anderson, who passed away in 2015 of an accidental drug overdose.

Although Anderson struggled with addiction, he was in recovery and dedicated his life to helping others and those who helped him. Wendy, who knew and loved Anderson, wanted to do something in his name to continue his helping spirit by helping those battling addiction, many who are homeless.

She learned that the first thing that happens when someone enters a shelter is that they are asked to shower and are given new clothes. In every instance their undergarments are tossed out. She learned that most shelters had donated clothes, but were always in need of new undergarments.

This year’s event collected baskets full of skivvies in all sizes, styles and colors. There was live entertainment by several musical groups, delicious food donated by the Red Osier Landmark Restaurant in Stafford and a live auction that included many items and gift certificates donated by local individuals, businesses and organizations.

New this year, the public was invited to learn more about Genesee County’s outreach programs that assist those struggling with addiction. GCASA’s mobile recovery van was parked outside the Byron Fire Hall and two of GCASA’s peer advocates, Gina and Sheila, were on hand to give additional information about services in our area.

The recovery van is available 24/7. It will actually come to those battling addiction who are ready to seek help. The van has the equipment necessary to immediately help an individual begin their path to recovery. The mobile recovery van will actually bring an individual to a treatment facility that is in line with their needs.

In speaking with Gina, a peer advocate and Frongetta’s daughter, she explained her duties are as a peer advocate. Gina describes her job as a community resource expert, a motivator, an ally, a supporter and a role model. Her enthusiasm about her job certainly would give anyone she interacts with a big spark of hope to start their journey to sobriety.

Also, for the first time during this year’s event, GCASA employees were on-hand to give 10 individuals training in dispensing Narcan; now in nasal form. After a 10-minute class learning about how and when to use the medication those individuals can save someone from being another overdose victim. They potentially can become first responders as many, many overdoses are in home settings.

The clothing items collected this year will again be distributed to Genesee County’s many outreach programs and Agencies including WNY Veterans Outreach, Genesee & Orleans Community Action, Hope Haven and others.

For more information or if you would like to donate to this cause, contact Wendy at 585-455-4940.

Below, peer advocate Gina Frongetta in GCASA's new mobile recovery van.

October 19, 2018 - 5:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in spirit and skivvies, byron, addiction, recovery, news.

Photo: Dawn Anderson, left, with Wendy and Tony Frongetta.

Submitted photo and press release:

On Sunday, Nov. 4th, starting at noon at the Byron Fire Hall the fourth annual Spirit and Skivvies event will be held.

Byron Fire Hall is located at Byron Fire Hall, 6357 E. Main St., Byron.

This unique event was started three years ago by Wendy and Tony Frongetta, in memory of their good friend, Mikel Anderson. Mikel passed away in 2015 of an accidental drug overdose. Although Mikel struggled with addiction, he was in recovery and dedicated his life to helping others and those who helped him.

Wendy, who knew and loved Mikel wanted to do something in his name to continue his helping spirit by helping those battling addiction, many who are homeless. Wendy approached the shelter that Mikel loved in Lockport and asked them how she might help others struggling with the same issues that plagued her friend.

In doing so she learned that the first thing that happens when someone enters a shelter is that they are asked to shower and are given new clothes. In every instance their undergarments are tossed out. She learned that most shelters had donated clothes, but were always in need of new undergarments.

The Frongettas contacted their many friends, who contacted their friends who gathered at their Byron home for a party of giving. The result was overflowing baskets of socks, undershirts, bras and skivvies in every color and size that Wendy happily donated to area shelters.

The Frongettas’ good deed has gathered momentum over the past three years and other folks, organizations and businesses have jumped in to help. Mikel Anderson’s mother, Dawn, joined the Frongettas helping establish the annual “Skivvies” event.

The Byron Fire Hall donated the space, the Original Red Osier Landmark Restaurant in Stafford has made the event even more of a party by generously donating many of the needed party items including the great food, and wine.

Local individuals, businesses and organizations have jumped onboard with donations of money, music, artistic abilities all for this wonderful cause.

Genesee County’s many outreach programs and shelters are now the main recipients of the “Skivvies” donations. Agencies including WNY Veterans Outreach, Genesee & Orleans Community Action, Hope Haven, Eagle Star Veteran’s Home, and GCASA will directly benefit by this year’s donations.

In appreciation GCASA’s mobile recovery van will be stopping by the event so folks can see firsthand one of the many ways the agency assists those seeking recovery from addiction.

October 13, 2018 - 1:17pm

If you have a friend or family member struggling with addiction, consider connecting with others in the same situation at a get-together at City Church -- Outback on two upcoming Saturdays.

"Coffee Talk" will be held on Nov. 3 and Dec. 8 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at 210 E. Main St., Downtown Batavia. Both sessions will feature a keynote speaker -- TBA.

Join others for a relaxed time of support, encouragement and coffee, of course!

Friends of Recovery NY know that: "Addiction can have a devastating impact on the families of those struggling with a substance abuse disorder. In fact, it's been said that addiction is a disease of 1+4 because it affects not only the individual, but at least four other loved ones as well.

"Sadly, family members are often at a loss for how to help the individual in active addiction, other members of the family or even themselves. To make matters worse, the shame and stigma society associates with addiction keeps those who need help from reaching out -- even to close friends and family.

"Instead, most families struggling with addiction suffer in silence and don't know where to turn."

The good news is that there are some wonderful family resources available to help them and other loved ones cope, heal and carry on.

For more information, please call The City Church at 343-6895.

October 8, 2018 - 12:56pm
posted by Allison Lang in mental health, addiction, support group.
Event Date and Time: 
November 6, 2018 - 6:00pm to 7:30pm
Addiction can have a devastating impact on the families of those struggling with a substance use disorder.  The good news is that there are many wonderful family resources available to help them and other loved ones cope, heal and carry on.  If you have a family member who is struggling with addiction, depression or mental illness, and would like to connect with other families and loved ones, please join us for a relaxed time of support, encouragement and coffee!  There is no cost to attend this event.  
August 1, 2018 - 4:01pm
posted by Billie Owens in opioids, addiction, methadone, GCASA, batavia, news.

Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (GCASA) is very pleased to announce that the Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) will open on Aug. 13. This will allow patients to receive methadone to treat their addiction.

GCASA has been providing Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) since 2004. Like many other diseases such as heart disease or diabetes, patients require medication to treat their medical conditions.

Dr. Matthew Fernaays, GCASA’s medical director, has prescribed naltrexone and buprenorphine for patients for several years, with great success for some patients. But they don’t work for all patients. With the opening of the OTP, he will be able to prescribe methadone to treat a patient’s addiction, increasing access to appropriate treatment services for residents in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties.

Kathy Hodgins, senior services director at GCASA, said “The ability to provide methadone treatment in our rural area will help so many people in our community. Those who are unable to drive to Buffalo or Rochester daily will be able to access the care they need to treat their addiction right here in Batavia. This is huge for our community.”

Methadone is highly regulated and monitored. Licenses were obtained by NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Research shows that most communities with similar programs have decreased rates of crime because people are able to get the help they need, instead of having to steal to maintain their drug use.

GCASA is very excited to be able to offer this treatment to help fight the opioid crisis.

“We want to see people in recovery," says Executive Director John Bennett. "We are working hard to fill in the gaps that currently exist in treatment services. We know that there are many pathways to recovery and we are grateful to be able to provide another path with methadone.” 

GCASA has been serving Genesee and Orleans counties for more than 40 years. Services include prevention education and outpatient and residential treatment for individuals with substance use disorders; and an employee assistance program. For more information, please call 585-343-1124 or visit our website at gcasa.net.

GCASA is located at 430 E. Main St. in the City of Batavia.

March 26, 2016 - 1:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in opioids, crime victims week, addiction, mental health, news.

This information was provided by Sue Gagne, executive director of the Mental Health Association of Genesee and Orleans Counties:

National Crime Victims' Rights Week is April 10-16. Communities nationwide, aided by the Office for Victims of Crime, will hold observances. This year's theme is "Serving Victims. Building Trust. Restoring Hope" and the aim is to underscore the importance of early intervention and using victim services in establishing trust with victims in order to begin to restore their hope for healing and recovery.

In Genesee County, starting at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, April 15, there will be a Ceremoninal Walk and Reception at the Old County Courthouse (Downtown Batavia at the corner of routes 5 and 63). For more information, call Theresa at 344-2550, ext. 3920.

Prior to that date is Criminal Justice Day, Tuesday, April 12, and there will be a half-day event at Genesee Community College titled "The Opiate Epidemic: The Unintended Victims." It runs from 8:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Conable Technology Center, 1 College Road, Batavia.

Cost to attend is $10 per person; $5 for students. Seating is limited; first come, first served. Registration forms are due by April 4. Checks should be made payable to the Mental Health Association of Genesee and Orleans Counties. For more information, call 344-2611.

According to the event brochure, heroin use has increased across the United States among men and women, most age groups, and all income levels. Some of the greatest increases occured in deomgraphic groups with historically low rates of heroin use -- women, the privately insured, and people with higher incomes.

Nor only are people using heroin more than ever, they are also abusing multiple other substances, especially cocaine and prescription opioid painkillers.

Law enforcement officials say history teaches that American society can't arrest its way out of the drug problems it faces. While effective enforcement is esstantial to protecting cities and neighborhoods, reducing drug use requires a broader, multidimensional approach.

Scientists say that it is clear that addiction is a progressive disease of the brain that can be prevented and treated and recovery is possible.

In addition to the college, the event on opioid addiction and its unintended victims is presented by these 2016 Criminal Justice Day partners:

  • Batavia Police Department
  • Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (GCASA)
  • GC District Attorney's Office
  • GC Sheriff's Office
  • GC Youth Bureau
  • Genesee Justice
  • Mental Health Association of Genesee and Orleans Counties
  • RESTORE Sexual Assault Services
  • YWCA of Genesee County 

Keynote speakers are Mike Covert, police chief of Cooperstown, and Alexis Pleus, a structural engineer and mother of three sons who lost her oldest son to a heroin overdose in 2014.

Under Covert's leadership, the police department made a "revolutionary change" in the way it responds to the opiate crisis. He implemented an initiative last Thanskgiving called PAARI -- Police Assisting Addicts Toward Recovery Initiative. It allows addicts to walk into the Cooperstown Police Station with drug paraphernalia or drugs to ask for help and not be charged with a crime. Instead, they are walked through the system toward detox and recovery with the assistance of an assigned "ANGEL" who guides them through the process -- not in hours or days but on the spot. Since its implementation, 45 people have enrolled in the program.

Pleus has used her experience with addiction and the stigma she faced to start an organization called Truth Pharm, which works to raise awareness, reduce the stigma, implement programs, and advocate for policies that have a profound impact on the opioid epidemic.

The day's agenda is as follows:

8:15 to 8:45  -- Registration

8:45 to 9  -- Flag Raising

9 to 9:15 -- Welcome and Introductions

9:15 to 10:15 -- Keynote Speakers

10:15 to 10:30 -- Break

10:30 to 11:45 -- Panel Discussion: Impact on the Community

11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. -- Pharmacology of Opiates 


August 10, 2009 - 8:53am
posted by Joseph Langen in addiction, tears, sorrow.




JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. Are you back to work or still in vacation mode?
JOE: Back to work I guess. But I am still working on refreshing myself.
CALLIOPE: Such as?
JOE: Yesterday I attended Spiritus Christi Church as they celebrated the tenth anniversary of their men's addiction recovery program.
CALLIOPE: How did that affect you?
JOE: I got to thinking about my granddaughter and her struggle to cope with her alcoholic father while he struggles with himself.
CALLIOPE: Where did that lead?
JOE: To a great sense of sadness that she has to endure pain, sorrow, and worry about her father.
CALLIOPE: Is there any hope for change?
JOE: He seems to be nearing bottom and possibly getting serious about some help.
CALLIOPE: Good. Anything you can do in the mean time?
JOE: I wondered that too. I wrote my granddaughter a letter yesterday telling me of my sadness about her situation and her father's and sharing my prayer for their peace with God and with each other.
CALLIOPE: At least you did something.
JOE: I wish I could do more, but at least I let her know I understood and cared about her. I guess that's a start. Talk with you tomorrow.



July 22, 2009 - 1:52pm
posted by Joseph Langen in technology, writing, addiction.


 Ready to Relax

(Ready to Relax)

JOE: Good afternoon Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good afternoon Joe. I wondered what became of you.
JOE: I have been wondering the same thing.
CALLIOPE: Have you come up with any answers?
JOE: I believe so. Mastering website technology at least to the point of getting satisfactory sites has taken me over to the point where it feels like an addiction.
JOE: I have reached the point where there is not much room left in my awareness for anything else.
CALLIOPE: What about your writing. I am barely keeping up with my journal and our conversations.
JOE: As you can, see it took me until now to get around to you.
CALLIOPE I do feel a tad slighted.
JOE: I was afraid of that. However I think the end is near or at least a plateau where I can stop to consider some other pursuits.
CALLIOPE: I'm glad to hear that.
JOE: I did manage to post my latest revisions to my Sliding Otter Website yesterday and am happy with it for the time being.
CALLIOPE: Then what's keeping you tethered?
JOE: Now I am hard at work on my Commonsense Wisdom site which is coming along nicely. I hope to be done with it in the next few days. Talk with you tomorrow.




March 18, 2009 - 10:01am
posted by Joseph Langen in mystery, addiction, sexual abuse.

 (Magen's Bay Beach- St. Thomas)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: Not bad. I'm enjoying the return of spring weather and not having to bundle up before going outside.
CALLIOPE: It is a nice time of year, one of rebirth and beginnings.
JOE: Well said. My mind is filled with new ideas.
CALLIOPE: Such as?
JOE: I think I might have mentioned my idea about a virtual beach where ideas could lounge and meet each other.
CALLIOPE: You did. Is it on your mind?
JOE: Yes. I awoke early this morning imagining it.
CALLIOPE: What ideas are up and about?
JOE: One is the mystery of abuse.
JOE: I've wondered what prompts people to leave their senses and abuse others with no thought of their welfare. Another is the mystery of addiction.
CALLIOPE: Do you think they are connected?
JOE: Perhaps, but I'm not sure. I have read a few explanations of both issues but they both remain mysterious to me. Maybe I will let them play on the beach and see what happens. Talk with you tomorrow.

March 16, 2009 - 7:55am
posted by Joseph Langen in writing, mystery, addiction.


(Tangled Roots)

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How was your weekend?
JOE: Saturday was rough.
CALLIOPE: Tell me about it.
JOE: Carol and I went to a wake and funeral service for her cousin Yvonne.
CALLIOPE: What happened?
JOE: She had struggled for years with alcoholism and finally succumbed apparently to an overdose of pain medication.
CALLIOPE: Sorry to hear it.
JOE: It was a tragedy waiting to happen. She had a great zest for life but not much control over her attraction to chemicals.
CALLIOPE: Did her death surprise you?
JOE: Not really but it did sadden me to see her life lost to addiction which remains one of the mysteries I have not been able to crack in all of my years as a psychologist and a writer.
CALLIOPE: Are you still working on it?
JOE: I'm not working on it so much as wondering about it?
CALLIOPE: Do you plan to write any more about it?
JOE: I wrote a novel about sexual addiction which just engendered more questions. I suppose I will work on it some more. Talk with you tomorrow.
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