Maloney Joins Local and State Partners to Host Emergency Town Hall on Heroin Epidemic
Washington, D.C. - Bringing together local, state and federal resources in a community wide town hall, Representative Sean Patrick Maloney heard stories from dozens of his neighbors in the Hudson Valley about the heroin epidemic.
“I’m calling for all-hands-on-deck. When I talk to law enforcement, parents, and school officials, I hear that there is a heroin and prescription drug epidemic that’s threatening our kids in all of our communities. It’s ripping apart families and far too many friends and neighbors,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney. “We must ensure that the law enforcement officials who are working to get drugs off the streets have the resources they need and that community organizations focused on prevention and treatment have our full support.”
“Drug trafficking knows no boundaries. To successfully combat the drug problem, we must take a multifaceted approach including prevention through education, increasing public awareness, apprehension of offenders and prosecution of offenders,” said Chief Gerald Schramek of the Putnam County Sheriff's Office.
“Even though there are plenty of resources available for treatment in the Mid-Hudson region, getting people to treatment is the cornerstone of change. Part of successful treatment is successful collaborations with existing agencies that are in the community, and we have to continually strive to make these partnerships even better,” said Martin Colavito of TEAM Newburgh.
“This is an opportunity for us to raise awareness to get the word out to people and get them help if they need it. This is not only an epidemic in the Hudson Valley but across the country. Overdoses in Putnam County, in 2011 we had six, and in 2012 we had twenty related to heroin and opiates, many of them young people. There are prevention providers throughout the Hudson Valley region that provide both school and community based prevention for students and parents,” said Kristin McConnell, M.S. Executive Director National Council on Alcoholism & Other Drug Dependencies/Putnam.
“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 prescription drug abuse is an epidemic. We need more and more attention on it and it is so important what you are doing,” said Chunacey Parker, Director of the NY/NJ High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.
In last night’s telephone town hall poll, 40% of respondents said heroin was the most serious drug problem in the Hudson Valley followed by 29% of respondents who said prescription drugs, 17% who said alcohol and 10% who said marijuana.
Last night’s poll also found that 23% of people personally know someone who has sought treatment for using heroin or prescription drugs, 23% of people personally know someone who has been a victim of a crime related to prescription drugs or heroin and 19% have recently spoken to a family member or friend who has used prescription drugs or heroin.
In addition, a majority of respondents, 56% of people, believed in a collaborative approach to combating the heroin and prescription drug problem. 25% supported more counseling, 9% supported more community awareness and 10% supported either more police enforcements or tougher laws and sentences.
Earlier this week, Rep. Maloney wrote to the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Gil Kerlikowske, urging him to include Putnam and Dutchess in the NY/NJ High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas. Maloney also called for the increased availability of naloxone, a potentially lifesaving drug designed to reverse opioid prescription drug and heroin overdoses.
Anyone who has questions or is struggling with addiction can visit:
- 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.
Listen to the full recording of the live Telephone Town Hall here: