Maloney Brings Local Resources to Hudson Valley for Town Hall on Heroin and Opioid Epidemic
Washington – In response to the growing heroin and opioid epidemic, Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) brought together local, state and federal resources on a telephone town hall with over 21,000 neighbors from the Hudson Valley. Last week, Rep. Maloney introduced the Keeping Communities Safe Through Treatment Act to combat the opioid and heroin epidemic and stop mass incarceration of abusers and low-level drug offenders.
“I’ve heard it from folks in every neighborhood in the Hudson Valley – the heroin and opioid epidemic is killing our children and devastating our communities,” said Rep. Maloney. “There is no silver bullet solution, but working together with local, state and federal officials we can make sure those on the frontlines have the support they need to expand prevention and treatment efforts, get drugs off our streets, and keep our children safe.”
"Thank you Congressman for shining the spotlight on this issue and your leadership because as we know the Center for Disease Control has found that heroin and prescription drug abuse is an epidemic. We need more and more attention on it and it is so important what you are doing," said Chauncey Parker, Director of the NY/NJ High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area,” said Chauncey Parker, Director of the NY/NJ High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.
“The bottom line is, now more than ever the Prevention/Treatment community need to have an open door policy that considers those we serve. It is not enough to simply treat a person or community, we are obligated to navigate those in need to appropriate services, regardless of whether we can provide them or not,” said Martin Colavito, Director of Adolescent Prevention Services in Orange and Sullivan Counties Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange County.
“Public awareness is one of the most important tools to law enforcement in the effort to combat illegal drugs. Congressman Maloney assists in that awareness by hosting the live telephone Town Hall meetings and inviting police and treatment professionals to participate and help to educate the public on the dangers of these drugs,” said Thomas Pape, Acting Chief of Police, City of Poughkeepsie Police Department.
During the town hall, participants were asked to weigh in on the crisis. Polls showed that 52% of respondents believe that heroin is a problem in our schools.
Surveys also found that 62% of participants supported a multifaceted approach to addressing the heroin epidemic, including increasing community awareness, enhancing tools for law enforcement, increasing counseling and support services, and imposing tougher penalties. Only 5% of respondents supported raising criminal penalties alone.
Last week, Rep. Maloney announced new bipartisan legislation with Rep. Richard Hanna to combat the opioid and heroin epidemic and stop mass incarceration of abusers and low-level drug offenders. By allowing police officers to use their discretion to divert individuals directly to treatment instead of booking them and processing them through the criminal justice system, these programs give police officers the flexibility they need to help curb the growing opioid epidemic, decrease low-level drug crime, and reduce the number of low-level drug related arrests. The Keeping Communities Safe Through Treatment Act would create a Department of Justice (DOJ) grant program to fund pre-booking drug diversion programs in counties designated as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) such as Putnam, Westchester, Orange and Dutchess Counties.
Recently, Rep. Maloney also announced, in addition to securing $3.7 million for local organizations to combat substance abuse, three local health centers will receive nearly $1 million to combat opioid and heroin abuse in the Hudson Valley.
Anyone struggling with addiction is encouraged to use the resources listed below:
- New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services at oasas.ny.gov or call 1-877-8-HOPENY;
- Team Newburgh Gateway Center at Newburgh Free Academy at 46 Roe Street, Newburgh, NY 12550 or call 845-569-0034;
- Permanent Medication Collection Box at Town of Newburgh Police Department at 300 Gardernertown Road, Newburgh, NY 12550, or call 845-564-1100;
- Mount Kisco Partners in Prevention at 104 Main Street, Mount Kisco, NY 10549, or call 914-241-0500;
- Putnam County Communities That Care Coalition at 67 Gleneida Avenue Carmel, NY, or call 845-225-4646;
- Westchester Coalition for Drug and Alcohol Free Youth at 112 East Post Road, 3rd Floor, White Plains, NY 10601, or call 914-995-4115;
- Orange County Department of Mental Health 24 Hour Mobile Mental Health Team at 1-888-750-2266;
- Dutchess County Mental Hygiene Services 24 Hour Crisis Counseling Information and Referral Mobile Crisis Intervention Team at 1-877-485-9700;
- Westchester Department of Community Mental Health Crisis and Prevention and Response Team at 914-925-5959;
- Council on Addiction Prevention and Education (CAPE) of Dutchess County at 807 Route 52, Room 28, Fishkill, NY 12524, or call 845-765-8301.