Monday, March 20, 2017

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Maloney re-introduces legislation to fight drug epidemic


Maloney, center, explains his proposed legislation as Rolison, Molinaro and Grady listen

POUGHKEEPSIE – Flanked by Poughkeepsie Mayor Robert Rolison, Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro, and District Attorney William Grady, Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (D, NY-18) announced his intent to reintroduce legislation to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic plaguing the Hudson Valley.

He said the Orange County has the highest overdose rates in the entire State of New York.

The bill, as proposed, would initiate a grant program through the Department of Justice, which would assist law enforcement agencies in providing pre-booking diversion programs developed with local drug treatment programs and local prosecutors to address low-level drug crimes.

The program would allow law enforcement officers, at their discretion, to redirect low-level offenders engaged in drug activity to community-based services, like the Dutchess County Stabilization Center, instead of jail and prosecution.

"Everywhere I go in the Hudson Valley I hear stories about friends and loved ones lost to heroin and opioid addiction,” said Maloney. “We need a comprehensive approach to fighting this epidemic, and that starts with supporting our law enforcement officers who are on the frontlines of both crime and treatment. My legislation would provide a critical tool for these law enforcement officers to divert addicts directly to treatment instead of chronically arresting them" said Maloney when explaining the proposal.

Mayor Rolison, a 29-year veteran of law enforcement, welcomed the idea. Recalling his days in police work, Rolison said that there were no alternatives when dealing with low-level offenders. "We arrested them, booked them, and then went back to our patrol." The new Dutchess County Stabilization Center provides an alternative to the criminal justice system for offenders that qualify. "Being able to divert individuals with addiction into treatment will go towards helping the process of getting them stabilized and preventing them from entering the criminal justice system.”

The mayor said this legislation would direct financial resources to the local communities that know how best to utilize these funds.”

 


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