WENY News - Steuben County to offer additional substance abuse counselor for

Steuben County to offer additional substance abuse counselor for inmates

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     BATH, N.Y. (WENY) -- In the spring, Steuben County officials were told by the state there was going to be over ten million dollars in the state budget to help counties increase substance abuse services to inmates.

    "We were very hopeful, since we were kind of in at the ground floor and very active in providing substance abuse services at the jail, that we would be able to expand that because a part time substance abuse councilor is just not enough," said Steuben County Manager, Jack Wheeler.

    Unfortunately for the county, the empire state cut their funding.

    "We were confident that we were going to receive those state funds," said Wheeler. "Unfortunately the state cut the amount eligible for allocation significantly and decided to split it up amongst thirteen counties instead of spreading it across the state."

    So now the county is funding one full-time substance abuse councilor position to be solely at the jail. They're going to do so without it being any cost to the tax payers.

    "It's local money," said Wheeler. "It'll be a county cost. We did have a vacant position budgeted so it's no additional cost to the tax payers. But it's a budgeted vacant position we will fill."

    According to Steuben County Sheriff, Jim Allard,  around 80% of their inmates have some sort of addiction issue. For Sheriff Allard, he says this move is a step in the right direction.

    "I think it's a fantastic and great start," said Steuben County Sheriff, Jim Allard. "I think that it does not meet the needs, but it's a great starting point to establish."

    Wheeler says he's looking to have the position filled by August.

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