April 23, 2018
NEWBURGH, N.Y. -
Andrew O’Grady ’88, LCSW-R, CEO of Mental Health America of Dutchess County and Mid-Hudson Alcohol Recovery Centers, discussed the benefits and challenges of drug addiction treatment.
Nurses, healthcare specialists, and plenty of successful alumni headed to Mount Saint Mary College earlier this month to attend “Opioid Abuse Epidemic and The Role of Nursing,” a professional development symposium and networking brunch.
The fourth annual event was presented by the Mount Saint Mary College School of Nursing and the Office of Alumni Affairs.
It featured four powerful speakers: David M. Hoovler, J.D., District Attorney of Orange County New York, who discussed law enforcement issues and efforts to battle drug abuse; Brian Maher, Director of Communications for New York State Senator William J. Larkin, Jr., who discussed current legislative actions and future initiatives; Mount alumnus Daniel Maughan ’02, MSN, MBA, RN, FNP-C, Vice President for Transformation at St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital/Montefiore Health System, who discussed current medical treatments and modalities; and fellow alumnus Andrew O’Grady ’88, LCSW-R, CEO of Mental Health America of Dutchess County and Mid-Hudson Alcohol Recovery Centers, who discussed addiction outreach, treatment, resources, and challenges.
Hoovler, a former police detective, said that Orange County is approaching substance abuse issues in the area through a three-part strategy: education, to help keep people away from drugs in the first place; the empowerment to seek treatment, to help people who are addicted; and enforcement, to attack the suppliers of illegal drugs before they can affect the community.
“This problem has to be solved from a multidisciplinary approach, where law enforcement is the last option: where when all else fails, we defer to law enforcement when someone is acting in a manner that endangers the community,” explained Hoovler. Increased drug prevention education in schools and addiction treatment “when a person is ready, willing, and able” can help keep the community safe and lower the need for law enforcement involvement, he said.
O’Grady has provided 30 years of service to those affected by mental illness and addiction and the individuals and systems that treat them. According to him, drug addiction and abuse results in around 50 million serious illnesses or injuries among people in the United States each year.
“The more we talk about drug addiction, the more we find out that it is such an invasive part of our community,” explained O’Grady. The more society treats drug addiction and mental health issues with the same openness and understanding as physical illness, the easier it will be to treat those maladies, he suggested.
People with drug and mental health issues “often feel like they’re alone,” he said. “That makes getting treatment a lot harder sometimes.”