Substance Use Recovery for the LGBTQ+ Community in Central NY

Sep 8, 2023 | Insights and Highlights

Recovery is possible, and it’s possible for everyone.  Substance Use Disorder (SUD) is a chronic but treatable illness characterized by a pattern of substance use leading to noticeable impairment or distress in your life. While some people may think that SUD stems from a personal failing or weakness, the reality is more complex. Like other mental health conditions, SUDs are treatable, but the shame and stigma associated with substance use can make it difficult for people to seek treatment.

According to the CDC, depending on the type of SUD, treatment may include:

  • Medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) –  May be used as the first course of treatment for Opioid Use Disorder to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
  • Inpatient Rehabilitation – Differing from outpatient counseling, this may take place in a full-time facility such as a hospital, rehab, or residential program that provides a supportive environment for people to recover without distractions or temptations.
  • Outpatient Counseling– This is any form of psychotherapy that takes place outside of a full-time facility and instead usually happens in a therapist’s office or via telehealth. Counseling can help people better understand their triggers and reasons for using drugs.

While we may not have as many recovery resources as our neighbors in Syracuse or Ithaca, there are a few I want to highlight here in Cortland and Central NY State. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use and looking for professional care, you can use this tool to see available inpatient and outpatient programs in New York State: https://findaddictiontreatment.ny.gov/

There are also agencies in Cortland that offer addiction treatment services:

In addition, two agencies located in Tompkins County, REACH (https://www.reachprojectinc.org/) and C.A.R.S. (https://www.carsny.org/) provide certain telehealth services for Cortland residents, but in-person visits would be in Ithaca.  There are also a couple of coalitions in Cortland that are not focused on treatment but instead focused on larger community action to reduce substance use in Cortland. These coalitions are led by people with lived experiences with substance use. This includes the Healing Cortland Lived Experience Group, which primarily focuses on opioids: https://healingcortland.org/project-information/lived-experience-group/ and the Access to Independence Candle Coalition, which focuses on alcohol and cannabis use among people living with disabilities: https://www.facebook.com/candlecoalition  If you are interested in learning more about recovery resources outside of Cortland County, please reach out to the LGBTQ Center.

As part of Recovery Month, we are highlighting our partners who celebrate Recovery Month.  This was written by Regina Cuddleback, Sexual Health Educator at The Cortland LGBTQ Center, Division of Family and Children’s Counseling Services