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County Leaders Join Together To Fight Heroin, Opioid Epidemic

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz (left) and Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro (right) at drug addiction forum.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz (left) and Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro (right) at drug addiction forum. Photo Credit: Contributed

DUTCHESS COUNTY, N.Y. --  Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro hosted a heroin and opioid abuse forum Thursday to discuss strategies with local leaders in the ongoing battle against addiction in the Mid Hudson Valley.

Molinaro welcomed Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz to talk about the findings of the National Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Abuse and to discuss policy and partnership solutions that have been recommended by the task force. Poloncarz is the New York State local government representative on the national task force.

“These regional forums are happening across the county, and they are designed to discuss prevention and education strategies that can help to stem the tide of drug abuse in local communities,” said Poloncarz.

Molinaro said, "The heroin and opioid abuse epidemic is growing, and it cannot and should not be ignored. There are too many individuals and families in our communities at risk. This is an opportunity for us as local leaders to come together to discuss best practices and policies to address this issue now. With overdose rates steadily increasing, there is no time to waste.”

The local meeting is part of a nationwide effort being led by local leaders in an effort to focus on strategies and programs that aim to prevent individuals from becoming dependent on prescription painkillers and heroin, according to a release.  As the number of drug-related deaths rise across the U.S., these local leaders are redoubling their efforts on prevention designed to keep individuals from becoming drug-dependent in the first place, the release said.

“This collaborative approach by local leaders is intended to bolster our respective efforts to mitigate the opioid crisis and strengthen the safety and security of our neighborhoods," said Matt Chase, executive director of the National Association of Counties. "These regional dialogues are designed to encourage community leaders to discuss the issues related to this crisis, growing trends, and proven responses."

“As county leaders, we are entrusted with preserving the health and safety of our communities," said Schoharie County Treasurer William E. Cherry, president of the New York State Association of Counties, which is coordinating the regional events across the state. "It is our duty to do whatever we can to help break the cycles of addiction, overdose, and death that have taken hold in so many corners of this state."

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