The Madison County Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc., known as BRiDGES, will celebrate 35 years of service to the community in April of 2022. BRiDGES was incorporated as a private, not-for-profit organization in 1987 with a primary concern of the impact of alcoholism on the family and community systems. Over time, BRiDGES has evolved to focus on prevention and education around all substances and in the past 10 years has added a focus on suicide prevention, problem gambling prevention, and support for LGBTQIA individuals and their families to its efforts.
The mission of BRiDGES is to be a leader in providing advocacy, resources, and services to our community, the workforce, families, and individuals through the delivery of prevention and intervention programs that promote change, strengthen families, and build healthy communities.
Through the work of the BRiDGES’ staff, youth in schools in Madison County and their parents are reached with substance use prevention education efforts and parenting programming. Adults in Madison County who are impacted by alcohol and other drugs may call BRiDGES for free for information and referral services. BRiDGES staff work on creating a healthier community by assisting in the development of programs, practice, and policies such as tobacco-free parks and playgrounds, tobacco-free properties, and housing. BRiDGES provides safe sales training and resources for establishments selling or serving alcohol. BRiDGES also operates the Central Region Addiction Resource Center with the aim of increasing access to prevention, treatment, and recovery services.
Since 1989, BRiDGES has operated a comprehensive Employee Assistance Program serving over 20 companies in CNY and impacting 7,000+ employees and their family members. As part of a NYS regional effort, in 2021, BRiDGES launched Team Awareness and Resilience and Thriving, two workplace models focused on the thriving of the workforce. Employers in Madison County can contact BRiDGES to request these no-cost trainings.
Some of the notable work of the Council includes the establishment of the Safe Pill Disposal Program in Madison County. Through BRiDGES’ efforts, in partnership with many entities, BRiDGES’ work led to the placing of the first permanent drug-take back kiosk in the county in 2012. To date, over 10,000+ pounds of unused medications have been collected and the program has expanded over time with multiple permanent kiosks located throughout the county. Just this month, through a collaboration with the Madison County Health Department, BRiDGES assisted in the placement of a kiosk at the Cazenovia Police Department. Additionally, in response to the opioid crisis, BRiDGES became a NYS Opioid Overdose Prevention Program in 2020 and since that time has given out over 400+ Narcan kits.
In the past ten years, BRiDGES has added problem gambling prevention education, suicide prevention and loss support, and support for members of the LGBTQIA population and their families to their efforts. BRiDGES leads the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Madison County which has an annual community walk each September supporting those who have lost someone to suicide. This year’s walk will be held on Saturday, September 10th.
The LGBTQIA Network led by BRiDGES’ was responsible for the placement of Pride flags throughout the county in June of 2021. This effort will be expanded this year with a book reading on April 25th at 4pm at Hamilton Whole Foods by local author Isabel Sterling and a LGBTQIA movie series to be held in Hamilton. With support from the Madison County Youth Bureau, BRiDGES operates a weekly LGBTQIA youth group.
Community members are welcome to get involved in the efforts of the Council. Follow BRiDGES’ Facebook page for information on this and all other Council events. Additionally, donations to support all of the work of the Council are always appreciated. Donations are accepted on the BRiDGES’ website via Paypal or through check.
In 2022, BRiDGES moved into a new location and is now located at 1507 Upper Lenox Ave in Oneida. BRiDGES invites members of the community to take a Walk through the Decades with BRiDGES at an Open House event on April 20th from 4:30-7pm and April 21st 1-4pm.
In 2022, BRiDGES also unveiled a new agency logo. The logo symbolizes the work of the agency in the community- two hands, lifting up and empowering hearts through the sharing of our agency values – strength, hope and community.
For more information about the work BRiDGES does in the community, please visit: www.bridgescouncil.org or like BRiDGESmccasa on Facebook. Or call us at: 315-697-3947.