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Additional Funding Needed, to Augment Treatment Dollars
District Attorney David M. Hoovler is calling on New York State to allocate additional funds to enhance efforts at preventing opioid abuse, addiction, and overdose deaths; and to provide greater resources and tools for law enforcement to combat the opioid epidemic. Those additional funds would be essential to complement the funding that is already spent for opioid treatment programs.
For nearly a decade, Orange County and the country have been experiencing an opioid epidemic, during which thousands have died from opioid overdoses. As of November 27, 2018, 102 people have died this year in Orange County alone as a result of overdoses of opioids, a record number, and one that is ahead of the entire year of 2017. So far, the State’s emphasis has been on treating those addicted to opiates, while prevention dollars have been cut and enforcement funding has remained inadequate. Although treatment is important to addressing the crisis, it is not the whole answer. Statistically, nine out of every ten people addicted to opiates does not get treatment, either because it is not available, or because they simply do not want it. Unless the State allocates funding for programs providing treatment on demand, District Attorney Hoovler advocates greater funding emphasis on prevention and enforcement.
“The best way to deal with opioid abuse and addiction is to prevent it in the first place,” said District Attorney Hoovler. “Prevention education requires money, so that people can learn how to stay away from opioids. Keeping people off opiates also requires vigorous law enforcement, to keep those dangerous substances from being distributed to people who might abuse them. We spend billions annually to help keep people from dying of cancer. We spend billions annually and provide law enforcement with necessary tools to help prevent people from dying in car accidents. Well, thousands are dying from opioid overdoses, and the time has come to spend the money needed to prevent those deaths. In the new year, I intend to visit every State Assemblyperson and Senator in the region to ask that the State Legislature authorize additional funding for prevention and law enforcement.”