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BestSelf introduces mobile units to take opioid battle directly to patients

A Western New York agency that works with people battling opioid addiction has added two new mobile units to their resources, funded with dollars from a state grant.

BestSelf unveiled their new vehicles Tuesday. Both contain full-service clinical and office space and will be staffed by individuals who will reach out to patients in more remote areas of Western New York, including those living in rural communities, and also to patients who do not have the means to travel to urban or suburban clinics.

"We know one of the challenges is getting easy access to care," said Dr. Howard Hitzel, president and chief executive officer of BestSelf. "There's a lot of office space treatment centers available. However, some people really just don't have the ability to get there."

Dr. Hitzel explained that the services to be provided through their mobile units will begin with evaluation, followed by peer support. Treatment groups are also an option. 

Among the peer counselors and advocates is Mona Lisa McEachin. She explained that she battled addiction for 20 years and now works with others to steer them through their own cases.

"Automatically we connect, because I let them know right out of the gate I'm just like them," McEachin said. "The only thing different is I make better decisions today. But you, too, can make better decisions and I'll guide you, hold you by the hand, and show you how."

BestSelf recently received $1.7 million grant from the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. That money was used to acquire the mobile units, as well as develop a tele-practice and expand peer services.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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