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    Brewster, N.Y. – (7/03/14) – Senator Greg Ball (R, C, I –Patterson), Chairman of the Senate Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee, has secured $60,000 of state funding to combat opioid and heroin addition in local schools. The New York State Legislature recently approved the funding for Peers Influence Peers Partnership, a non-profit aimed at providing opportunities for youth to use their influence with their peers to make healthy life style choices.

    “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. It is crucial to get to the kids before it is too late,” said Senator Greg Ball. “I’m excited to have secured this funding for Peers Influence Peers Partnership, so they can get active in our schools and teach our students about the dangers of these substances to help combat this epidemic.”

    Senator Ball secured a total of six $10,000 grants that the program will use to visit several Putnam County High Schools including Putnam Valley, Mahopac, Brewster, Lakeland, Walter Panas and Carmel.

    “Heroin and other opiate addiction is a problem that is visiting communities all across the country. Peers Influence Peers has worked this past year on the production of a documentary film, ‘Chasing It’ which looks at this explosive issue,” said Frank Reale, President of Peers Influence Peers Partnership. “I am very grateful of Senator Ball for securing these grants for us to use to reach out to local high school students and their parents in an effort to raise awareness of such issues.”

    Peers Influence Peers plans on visiting the six schools to show the documentary “Chasing It”, which explores the dangerous heroin and opioid epidemic. The funds will also go toward reaching out to students to get involved in other issues that raise concern, such as drug and alcohol abuse and domestic violence.

    “I want to share my gratitude to Senator Ball for this opportunity to partner with Frank Reale, a Putnam Valley community member who has dedicated himself to inspiring and motivating young people who struggle to find their way in a challenging environment,” said Superintendent Frances Wills of Putnam Valley Central School District. “This grant will allow the District to work with parents and the community in order to portray the devastating effects of teen heroin abuse. Peers Influence Peers’ disturbing and powerful documentary will be used as a key component of our broader goal to prevent student drug use and intervene when it becomes an obstacle to student learning and social interaction.”

    “We want to thank the Senator for providing us with the opportunity to present film and forum and be able to work with Peers Influence Peers. This grant will provide us with the opportunity to continue educating our students about the critical issues of prescription abuse and heroin addiction,” said Superintendent Dr. George Stone of Lakeland Central School District.

    Senator Greg Ball has also teamed up with two local families who recently lost their sons to drug addiction. The Christiansen and Salomone families have organized a group titled, “Drug Crisis In Our Backyard.” Their mission is to promote awareness and provide resources and support to those individuals and their families affected by drug addiction.

    “We are very excited and encouraged to learn of this great step that Senator Ball has made for the cause of fighting the Heroin and Opiate epidemic we are facing,” said Steven Salomone of Drug Crisis in Our Backyard. “The Peers influence Peers group in particular provides a very strong tool in the battle of addiction because they are about education in order to prevent drug use, which is the most powerful way to get ahead of this growing problem. The earlier we can reach these kids the more powerful the effect can be. Let’s keep this momentum going!”

    “Thank you Senator Greg Ball and Peers Influence Peers! I truly believe that one of the most important ways to combat this epidemic of heroin & opiate addiction plaguing our communities, is through Peer to Peer,” said Carol Christiansen, Co-Founder of Drugs Crisis In Our Backyard. “Young people can show other young people that it can be ‘Cool’ not to use drugs.”

    For more information, please contact or (845) 531-9796