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Last Updated: Thursday, February 9, 2017
Broome County Executive Jason T. Garnar and Tioga County Legislative Chair Martha Sauerbrey today co-hosted a regional event designed to prevent heroin and opioid abuse.
Garner and Sauerbrey welcomed Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz to discuss 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.
“We are holding these regional forums across the state. They are designed to discuss prevention and education strategies that can help to stem the tide of drug abuse, especially opioid abuse in local communities,” said Erie County Executive Poloncarz.
The Southern Tier event brought together dozens of county legislators, law enforcement, mental health, health care, and addiction prevention officials from Broome and Tioga counties.
“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,” said County Executive Garner. “This is an opportunity for us as local leaders to come together with key agencies in our communities 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. As the number of drug-related deaths rise across the U.S., these local leaders are redoubling their efforts to prevent addiction to opioids and heroin, and keep individuals from becoming drug dependent in the first place.
““Too many lives have been lost and too many heartbroken families are dealing with the aftermath of this awful heroin and opioid abuse epidemic. It is our responsibility as elected officials to cross county lines, come together, and develop a plan to combat this crisis. We won’t let heroin win. Not in our communities,” said Tioga County Chairwoman Martha Saurbrey.
“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. These regional dialogues are designed to encourage community leaders to discuss the issues related to this crisis, growing trends, and proven responses,” said Matt Chase, executive director of the National Association of Counties.
“As county leaders, we are entrusted with preserving the health and safety of our communities. 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,” 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.