FINCH — BATTLING HEROIN SCOURGE TOP PRIORITY Calls for increased funding for compassionate, comprehensive response at press conference in Capitol
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 25, 2016
Flanked by recovering survivors, public health advocates and his Assembly Republican Colleagues, Assemblyman Gary D. Finch (R,C,I-Springport) today issued a forceful call to fund new, comprehensive treatment programs to combat the heroin epidemic, the terrible scourge that has claimed two dozen lives in Cayuga County alone over the past fourteen months.
At the press conference, Finch’s Assembly Republican Conference unveiled a report generated by their Task Force on Heroin Addiction & Community Response. Members of the statewide task force heard testimony from local officials, law enforcement, health care providers and recovering addicts and their families.
Finch challenged New Yorkers to change their attitudes about addiction, stressing that friends and neighbors battling addiction are worthy of compassion and support.
“This is a disease,” said Finch. “We need to erase the stigma associated with addiction, and we need to ensure that addicts who want to put their lives back together can get the treatment they need and deserve.”
Characterizing the epidemic as a “crisis,’ Finch called on the governor to allocate much of the $2.3 billion in reserves from settlement funds to establish more detox centers and more rehabilitation facilities. He is also working to secure more funding for effective education for young people and for law enforcement officials to work overtime in an effort to root out the dealers who are callously profiting off of this debilitating disease.
“People in our community are spreading the right message. I know that Kevin Jones and Michelle Gentile have generated a tremendous amount of awareness in Auburn. I know that Superintendent Dr. Christopher Brown understands the gravity of the situation after attending his forum at West Genesee High School last week. That is why we so desperately need the governor to prioritize this fight. When people hear a message of hope, we need to deliver the treatment we promise. It is the most worthwhile investment we can make in the world,” said Finch.
Finch said fighting the heroin epidemic has become his absolute top priority.
“We have a tremendous amount of work to do this session. Funding our schools is important. Rebuilding our infrastructure is important. Economic development is important. Nothing is more important than implementing a compassionate, comprehensive response to this terrible crisis. We are losing young people like Jessica Gentile every day, and, as a state, we can’t stand for it.”