Recovering addicts speak to lawmakers to address fighting the heroin epidemic

George A. Amedore, Jr.

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – After hearing expert testimony from medical professionals and from recovering addicts, some New York State lawmakers are preparing to do their part to help fight the heroin epidemic.

The state senate task force met at the University at Albany Tuesday night. Some believe lawmakers need to get more involved to help those who are struggling.

“I lost many years of my life to the disease of addiction,” Kingston native Daniel Sevona said.

Sevona was addicted to pain medication.

“I struggled with drug addiction for over 15 years,” he said.

Surrounded by a crowd that allowed him to continue to abuse prescription pills, Sevona feels he lost part of his life to addiction.

“Addiction consumes your life,” he said.

But now, he’s more than two years sober.

“Hardest part of getting sober is the fear of coming out,” he said.

At UAlbany Tuesday night, the state senate taskforce listened to medical professionals and recovering addicts to gauge what action lawmakers need to take to stop the epidemic.

“Get everyone involved,” Sen. George Amedore said. “It’s not one person or one law that’s going to eradicate this problem.”

Amedore co-chairs the taskforce. First, he wants to make sure the current recovery system works the way it should.

“Make sure that the programs that are already provided by the state through OASIS; they’re effective and they’re working,” he said.

In addition, Amedore wants to ensure the systems are targeting the right people.

“Make sure that we are getting the middle and high level drug dealers off the street,” he said.

But for Sevona, it’s about spreading hope.

“I want to put a face on recovery; that recovery is obtainable,” he said.

Sevona said drugs are never far away from addicts.

“As for addicts, you drop us in a desert, and we’ll find drugs,” he said.

Sevona also said addicts in recovery can be the best example for those who are still struggling.

“For us to hide and keep our heads in the sand, we’re not helping the people out there that still need to get the help,” he said.

Ultimately, saving lives and restoring pride in good people who lost their way.


To read the full article and watch the video, click here.