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Tonight: Emergency Town Hall Call to Focus on Heroin Epidemic

An emergency telephone town hall Thursday (Feb. 27) night will focus on the heroin epidemic affecting the region, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D - Cold Spring) said.

Maloney is calling for the Hudson Valley to be labeled a "High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area." He wants to increase the availability of naloxone, an opioid antagonist used to counter the effects of an overdose. It is regarded "within the medical community as highly effective when used properly," Katie Zezima writes in this Associated Press story.

Kristin McConnell, executive director of the Putnam chapter of the National Council on Alcoholism & Other Drug Dependencies, will be on the call, as will members of the Putnam County Sheriff's Office, TEAM Newburgh and the National Drug Control Policy Office of the White House.

It starts at 7:30 p.m. Officials will talk about community resources and law enforcement resources. Maloney will also take questions from constituents, who will have the chance to leave a message with questions or thoughts at the end of the conversation.

“I’m calling for all-hands-on-deck," he said in a statement. "The heroin epidemic in the Hudson Valley is killing our children, devastating our communities, and ripping apart the families of friends and neighbors—we must confront this issue head-on. We must ensure that the law enforcement officials who are working to get drugs off the streets have the resources they need and that community organizations focused on prevention and treatment have our full support.”

Residents from the 18th Congressional district will receive an invitation by telephone to join the conference call. Invitations may be requested by emailing a name and complete phone number to ny18townhall@mail.house.gov, calling Maloney's Washington office at 202-225-5441, or signing up here. Anyone unable to participate in the call may call the congressman's office with comments, or send them via his website, Facebook or Twitter.

This past year, Maloney secured $625,000 for five local organizations to combat substance abuse, his office said.

For more Patch coverage on the heroin epidemic, see the following posts:

Concerned Homeowner February 27, 2014 at 11:59 AM
How about police departments creating specialized units that target narcotics?
Mike February 27, 2014 at 01:11 PM
FINALLY SOMEONE F****NG LISTENED TO THE NALOXONE IDEA THAT MASS' HAS BEEN OFFERING FOR LIKE 10 YEARS!! OMG. i ONLY MENTIONED THIS LIKE 30 TIMES ON PATCH, LOHUD, AND TO LOCAL RECOVERY RELATED ORGANIZATIONS. And don't hate on the cops, they are finally making a difference... let them do the work they do!
PatchRat February 27, 2014 at 01:16 PM
Kudos to those who have organized this and any other program of any type to educate kids, young adults, parents, school teachers and school officials on this out of control, deadly epidemic.
joshua tanner February 27, 2014 at 04:44 PM
All these little discussions, seminars, town meetings are just spinning wheels that will do no good. A main reason for the problem is broken borders and the ease with which the Mexican and Central American cartels come across the border. The reason heroin is $10-15 a bag is that its plentiful. Kids do heroin because its cheap._________Another reason for the problem is a degrading society where kids are dumbed down in schools and steered away from any life with inner values. Everything is about being popular and hot. The pop culture turns young men and women into strumpets and strumpetmongers. They have a vacuum inside - a silent scream. Drugs and alcohol take the edge and boredom away. "Therapists" etc are useless and are often just drug pushers themselves
John D February 27, 2014 at 05:30 PM
Check out Jared Leto in "Requiem for a Dream" from 2000. Crazy and brutal movie all about the evils of this particular drug and the lifestyle it leads to.
Dalton 22 February 27, 2014 at 07:11 PM
Here's a crazy idea. How about people take some responsibility for their own lives and don't do drugs that will kill them. Real tired about hearing its a disease and an illness. A child with cancer is an illness. People that use drugs are addicts with no self control who only care about themselves and expect a parade when they get sober.
Carolyn Adams February 28, 2014 at 07:12 AM
Maybe this will affect you when someone breaks into your home and steals your valuables in order to buy drugs. When something is labeled an epidemic it means that it impacts society as a whole not just the individuals who 'choose' to do drugs. I certainly don't have the answers and didn't participate in the Town Hall, but if all it did was educate people about the issue, then it's a start. At least we're not burying our heads in the sand.
Carolyn Adams February 28, 2014 at 07:24 AM
And I'll be real curious to see what Hollywood's reaction is to this problem vis a vis the Oscars. Having lost 2 of their own to heroin overdoses in the past year, I would love to see them be proactive in taking a stand on this topic. But I doubt they will.
jo February 28, 2014 at 07:25 AM
education about the "evils" of drugs has been around forever.. if folks don't get it by now, I have no hope they ever will.. take the drugs ..suffer the consequences ..

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