The Heroin Epidemic

Today, we held a press conference announcing the results of our Task Force on Heroin Addiction and Community Response. The Task Force toured the state and received vital input from local officials, law enforcement, health care providers, recovering addicts, and parents of addicted individuals.

Our full report, The Heroin Epidemic — A Report on Heroin Use, Treatment, Prevention & Education Efforts in NYS, can be found here.

Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb discussed how important this task force and the work it accomplished has been.

“People in communities in every corner of the state are desperate for solutions to the heroin epidemic that is tearing apart families and taking lives too soon,” said Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,C-Canandaigua). “Heroin addiction affects people from every demographic, in every community, and it is our responsibility to fix it. As lawmakers we need to work together to create solutions that will prevent people from getting addicted by coming up with a comprehensive plan that focuses on prevention and treatment of opioid and heroin addiction.”

Task Force Chairman, Assemblyman Joseph Giglio and Assemblyman Al Graf, who served on the task force, discussed their work as well.

“It is our duty to work for our constituents, and right now communities all over the state are struggling to fight a growing heroin epidemic,” said Assemblyman Joseph M. Giglio (R,C,I-Gowanda), task force chairman. “This goes beyond duty. Individuals who have lost a loved one to addiction, those currently battling addiction, and professionals working in rehab centers are frustrated. Using a multi-faceted approach as outlined in this report, we can begin to provide the necessary help to overcome the issue.”
“The forums provided us the opportunity to hear from those who have been hit the hardest by heroin’s devastation and know firsthand how heroin addiction shatters lives,” said Assemblyman Al Graf (R,C,I-Holbrook), task force member. “We heard from so many people, from every walk of life. From those fighting addiction, to those who want to help them, it is more obvious than ever that we must bring about common-sense changes to deal with the heroin epidemic. Detoxification, rehabilitation and recovery must work hand-in-hand to treat addiction.”

The HELP (Heroin ELimination & Prevention) Plan, suggests the following recommendations:

  • Provide Drug and Heroin Education
  • Create Support Tools and Advocacy Programs
  • Increase Funding and Improve Methods for Treatment and Recovery
  • Reevaluate Insurance Parity Laws and Reimbursement Rates
  • Criminal Justice and Judicial Improvements
  • Improve Connections Between Correctional System and Addiction Services

Several of our members addressed the media at today’s press conference.

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