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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of New York

Thursday, December 8, 2016

United States Attorney and Rensselaer County Host Meeting on Opioid Drug Addiction

December 12th Presentation at Hudson Valley Community College on the Nationwide Epidemic

ALBANY, NEW YORK - On Monday, December 12th, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York is partnering with anti-heroin groups across Rensselaer County to host a presentation on heroin, opiates and other drugs, and their effect on human physiology- 

“Understanding Heroin, Addiction and the Brain”
Guest Speaker, Michael Nerney
Monday, Dec. 12th, 7 – 9 PM
McDonough Sports Complex
Hudson Valley Community College

“The explosion of prescription opioid drug abuse and heroin is a nationwide issue with terrible local consequences.  Given the recent report from the U.S. Surgeon General that more people now use prescription opioids than use tobacco, it is no longer a matter of if opiate or heroin addition will affect someone you know, it’s when,” said United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian.  “Education and prevention are essential elements to combatting this epidemic. My office has partnered with six communities across the Northern District of New York to host this presentation and we will continue to work with community groups, law enforcement agencies and local government to combat this scourge,” said the U.S. Attorney.

Joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office in offering this presentation are Rensselaer County Executive Kathleen Jimino and the Rensselaer County Heroin Coalition, the Nopiates – Say No to Opiates – Coalition, the Troy Drug Free Community Coalition, the RADAR – Rensselaer Area Drug Awareness Reality Coalition, and the New York National Guard Counterdrug Task Force.

“Heroin and opioid addiction is devastating to those inflicted as well as to the person’s family and friends. Sadly, even those committed to breaking the chains of heroin addiction find the struggle difficult to overcome making it imperative to redouble our efforts to prevent addiction and support efforts to assist those seeking or in recovery.  Additionally, I want to commend United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian for his leadership on this issue as well as all of our partners in the Rensselaer County Heroin Coalition for their continued dedication,” stated Rensselaer County Executive Kathleen M. Jimino. 

The December 12th evening event will include featured speaker Michael Nerney, the former director of the Training Institute of Narcotic and Drug Research in New York City. Mr. Nerney has been a national consultant on adolescent chemical dependency and addiction and has over thirty-seven years of experience in the field of substance abuse and prevention.  His area of expertise includes psycho-pharmacology, adolescent chemical dependency, relapse prevention, heroin and prescription opioids.  Mr. Nerney has also been a consultant to the federal Office of Substance Abuse Prevention, New York State Education Department, New York State Division of Probation and Correctional Alternatives, New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, and two television networks.  He has been featured on 20/20, a primetime news magazine television show.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York has partnered with local groups to present programs featuring Michael Nerney in Plattsburgh through their Substance Abuse Prevention and Recovery of Clinton County, Mohawk Valley Community College with the Oneida County Sheriff, Massena High School Freshman Academy, and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe Alcohol/Chemical Dependency Prevention Program.  Two more presentations are slated with the Broome Opioid Abuse Council and the Jefferson County Community College in December. 

Community showings of the 47-minute film, “Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict,” a United States Department of Justice sponsored documentary, are scheduled in each of these areas as a follow-up meeting and discussion.  The purpose of bringing communities together on opiate addiction is to –

  • create an urgent awareness of the opiate/heroin epidemic,
  • start the discussions people need to have on the issue,
  • alter the stigma of addiction by bringing it into the open,
  • stress that prevention is essential,
  • declare that recovery is possible, and
  • build unity in addressing the opiate/heroin epidemic.


For further information on how to schedule a “Chasing the Dragon” documentary showing in your community, call the U.S. Attorney’s Office at 518-431-0247.

Community Outreach
Updated December 10, 2016