Posted by: Bob Dumas
ALBANY, N.Y. – State Senator Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson),has been named a member of the new Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction, while the senate has proposed that $7.95 million be included in the budget to combat the heroin epidemic across New York State.
The senate proposal includes $5 million for increased heroin prevention, treatment and recovery support services; $2 million for additional residential intensive treatment beds; $500,000 for pharmaceutical take back and $450,000 for opioid drug addiction prevention and treatment.
In a joint letter written by Ball and Sen. Phil Boyle (R – Bay Shore) requesting funds, they said, “in order to thwart heroin use, it must be combated on all fronts including prevention, treatment and recovery support.”
“The epidemic of heroin addiction plaguing our communities must be confronted head on,” Ball said. “It is sickening to read and hear of the countless deaths in our community. We must get to the kids before it’s too late, talk is cheap, and what is needed is funding and resources.”
Boyle, chairman of the Senate Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Committee, said the state needs to act quickly to combat the growing heroin problem.
“The heroin epidemic has wrought horrible tragedies throughout our state and we need to act quickly and galvanize our efforts, funding programs and devising legislation to end this scourge,” he said. “The primary mission of the Heroin and Opioid Task Force should be and will be to save the lives of fellow New Yorkers.”
Ball and Boyle said that as prescription pain pills become less available, partly thanks to New York States new Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing Act, or “I-STOP”, it is a common trend for prescription pain abusers to turn to heroin.
According to a U.S. government study, one out of four people who try heroin become addicted. Additionally, there has been a startling increase in both fatal and non-fatal overdoses from opiates. Despite the growing number of those in need of services, treatment facilities face budget deficits because Medicaid reimbursement rates continue to decline.
In conjunction with the Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction, Ball, Boyle and Putnam County Sheriff Donald Smith will host a Homeland Security Drug Crisis Roundtable at the Paladin Center Tactical Training Facility located at 39 Seminary Hill Road in Carmel on Thursday, April 24 at 6 p.m. The public is invited to attend. (ARTICLE)