By: Meredith Zaritheny
CARMEL N.Y. — The growing popularity of heroin has lawmakers and school superintendents across the region concerned. And Friday, they met at Carmel Town Hall for a round table meeting hosted by State Senator Greg Ball.
Where they discussed the growing traction this highly addictive drug is gaining in communities across the Hudson Valley, and most importantly what can be done to stop it.
It’s a problem that’s spreading nationwide and the Hudson Valley is no exception.
“It’s a crisis we’ve lost too many young folks over the past several years to overdoses and its got to stop,” said Thomas Manko, Maopac Central School District Superintendent.
“A lot of legislators in suburban districts use to look at the drug crisis and says that’s an inner city problem. The reality is that it’s our kids that are dying at an alarming rate. The street value of heroin is very cheap and these kids are doing this once and ending up dead,” said Senator Greg Ball, (R) Patterson.
Ball says the number of deaths due to heroin overdoses is increasing, and that’s why he’s is bringing together local leaders, school officials and law enforcement, to dig deeper into this growing nationwide epidemic.
“It’s community issue that’s what the school wants to be a partner with the community, senator and all that they’re doing to make a difference we’ve got to stop this,” said Manko.
The discussion centered on how to protect and prevent children and teens from becoming addicted to heroin, something school districts and law enforcement and are already working on.
“We’re gaining ground on dealers but also has to be done is the education, we have to educate people why are middle class people putting needles in their arms, that’s key,” said Peter Convery, Putnam County Undersheriff.
Senator ball says the ultimate solution to such a pervasive problem is not completely clear, but he says his goal is to start by educating kids about the dangers.
“This is literally try it once you can be dead, so we want to get that message out there provide the funding to do that and take that state wide,” said Ball.
Meetings like this one Ball says are a step in the right direction, and superintendents we spoke to agree. Senator Ball will be holding another round table meeting later this month. (ARTICLE)