CLEARFIELD — Leslie Buffone is the new Rural Health Outreach coordinator for the Clearfield Jefferson Drug and Alcohol Commission.
As the Rural Health Outreach coordinator she is responsible for marketing and community outreach for the organization. She said she goes to local health fairs and community events, and communicates with local health care providers and businesses.
She is also coordinating an effort get the organization’s Hepatitis C program back up and running so it again can have screenings and testing in its offices for hepatitis C.
She also works on the Overdose Task Force, and Heroin Task Force, and provides Narcan training for non-first responders such as jails, health providers companies etc.
The Clearfield Jefferson Alcohol Commission provides a variety of services and drug and alcohol abuse prevention programs and assists those seeking treatment for substance abuse. For example, the organization helps those seeking to get into treatment by performing services such as level of care assessments and screenings.
It also provides case management services such as helping clients find housing, gain employment, getting back into school, transportation for appointments, getting their driver’s license, working with Children, Youth and Family Services if it is involved and referring clients to outside agencies who can help them.
“We want to make sure that even though they might have just gotten out of rehab or discharged from an out-patient counseling facility that they still have that support system to help them get the things that they need in the time that they need them,” Buffone said.
The organization also works closely with the probation departments of both counties and they go into both jails to perform screenings on inmates to get them treatment. The drug and alcohol commission has a case manager embedded at the Clearfield County Jail because of the high number of referrals from the jail.
The organization also has a prevention department that goes into local schools and the community and runs drug and alcohol prevention programs.
She said drug and alcohol abuse is a problem that continues to grow in this area requiring the organization to expand.
“We are very busy,” Buffone said. “And we’ve grown quite a bit.”
When she started four years ago the drug and alcohol commission had two case managers, by the end of the year it will have 12, Buffone said.
And the commission recently moved into a larger office on Jeffers Street in DuBois and now has a staff of about 30 employees.
For those who don’t have the resources to pay for a treatment program, the drug and alcohol commission will help them find funding sources.
“If money seems to be an issue for you to go and get treatment, call us and we will try to do whatever we can and look into whatever options we have,” Buffone said.
She said methamphetamine abuse has increased substantially in recent years but alcohol remains the biggest issue locally, especially when it comes to emergency room calls.
The Drug and Alcohol Commission has an on-call system with Penn Highlands DuBois, Clearfield and Brookville, and Punxsutawney Hospital where they have someone on call 24-hours a day where the hospital can call and set up treatment for patient in the middle of the night if need be.
She said combating substance abuse is a tall task and the commission is working on ways to reach people with substance abuse problems so they can get help.
“There are still people in the area who don’t know we are here,” Buffone said.
The Clearfield Jefferson Drug and Alcohol Commission is funded from a variety of sources including grants from the state, local and federal governments, Buffone said.
For more information contact Buffone at the Clearfield Jefferson Drug and Alcohol Commission, 480 Jeffers Street DuBois Pa, 15801, phone (814) 371-9002 Ext. 143.