SENATOR BALL NAMED TO SENATE HEROIN TASK FORCE, ANNOUNCES NEARLY $8 MILLION TO COMBAT HEROIN EPIDEMIC

 

    Albany, N.Y. – 03/17/2014 – Senator Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson), Chairman of the Senate Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee, has been named a member of the Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction to develop recommendations and to prevent and treat addition.

    In addition to the task force, the Senate’s budget resolution included $7.95 million to combat the heroin epidemic across New York State. $5 million was included 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 Senator Greg Ball and Senator Phil Boyle 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. 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. As legislators, we must do everything in our power to protect our children from drug addiction,” said Senator Greg Ball.

    “I would like to thank Senators Skelos and Klein for creating this important task force to combat this epidemic in our communities,” said Senator Phil Boyle, Chairman of the Senate Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Committee. “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. The primary mission of the Heroin and Opioid Task Force should be and will be to save the lives of fellow New Yorkers.”

    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, Senator Greg Ball, Senator Phil Boyle and Putnam County Sheriff Donald Smith will host a Homeland Security Drug Crisis Roundtable. The roundtable will take place at the Paladin Center Tactical Training Facility located at 39 Seminary Hill Rd, Carmel, NY 10512 on Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 6:00 PM. The public and media are invited to attend.

    For more information, please contact jbachmei@nysenate.gov or (845) 531-9796

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