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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 26, 2018

U.S. Attorney’s Office and Rensselaer County Unite to Confront the Opiate Epidemic

Rensselaer County Schools, Government, and Organizations Rally Against Opiates

ALBANY, NEW YORK – The United States Attorney’s Office is partnering with the Rensselaer County Department of Health, Rensselaer County Sheriff’s Office, Rensselaer County District Attorney’s Office, Rensselaer County Heroin Coalition, the New York State Police and school districts throughout Rensselaer County to highlight the deadly effects of the opiate epidemic and to bring together all of the resources necessary to address it, announced United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith.  A range of events, including school assemblies and evening community events, continue throughout March to unite private citizens, service providers, and law enforcement agencies to ‘get out in front’ of this deadly epidemic.

“We are experiencing the deadliest drug epidemic in our nation’s history,” said United States Attorney Jaquith. “Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under 50. About two-thirds of the deaths are from opioids overdoses involving prescription painkillers, heroin, and fentanyl.  Aggressive enforcement is important to punish the poison peddlers who play Russian roulette with the lives of their customers and the rogue doctors who prescribe pills for illicit profits, but prevention is the best protection.  We are pleased to partner with the Rensselaer County Department of Health, Rensselaer County Sheriff’s Office, Rensselaer County District Attorney’s Office, Rensselaer County Heroin Coalition, and school districts throughout Rensselaer County, the New York State Police, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to increase public awareness, resilience and reduce the tragedies regularly striking families in our region.”

“There have been record numbers of Rensselaer County families affected by the opioid epidemic, with too many deaths, overdoses, and damaging, life-altering addictions. Rensselaer County appreciates the help and support of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of New York to fight this deadly problem and help save lives,” said County Executive Steve McLaughlin.

“The Rensselaer County Sheriff’s Office is pleased to be part of this very important effort. The more we can do to bring awareness to this issue and educate the public the better,” said Sheriff Patrick Russo, Rensselaer County Sheriff and Co-Chair of the Rensselaer County Heroin Coalition.

“As the Public Health Director of Rensselaer County and Co-Chair of the Rensselaer County Heroin Coalition, we work daily to combat the opioid epidemic in our county.  This campaign brings hope and awareness to the students of our school districts and within our surrounding communities,” said Mary Fran Wachunas.

All of the events include a viewing of Chasing the Dragon: The Life of An Opiate Addict (https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/raising-awareness-of-opioid-addiction ) followed by an Interactive Community Response Panel to discuss the epidemic impact locally.  The range of panelists include parents whose children are addicts, a young person who is addicted and in treatment, school counselors, treatment counselors, first responders, Sheriff’s Deputies and New York State Troopers, an Assistant United States Attorney, the District Attorney, a pharmacist, a funeral home, a recovery coach, people in recovery, and students who have made the commitment to be alcohol and drug free.  In a facilitated discussion, the panelists illustrate the progression of use/abuse/addiction, the impact on individuals, families, schools, agencies and demonstrate how systems respond.  All are welcome at the evening community-wide events.

UNITED TO FIGHT IT – Chasing the Dragon events

Brunswick Central School District - March 20, 2018

Daytime assembly for junior & senior high school students

Hoosic Valley School District - March 21, 2018

Daytime assembly for junior & senior high school students

Hoosic Valley & Brunswick School Districts - March 21, 2018

Combined evening joint community-wide event

Maple Hill Junior & Senior High School - March 27, 2018

Evening community-wide event

 

Averill Park School District - April 6, 2018

Evening community meeting

Catholic Central School - May 1, 2018

Evening community-wide event

City School District of Troy - May 17, 2018

Daytime assembly for junior & senior high school students

Evening community-wide event

Rensselaer City & E. Greenbush School Districts

Daytime school assemblies for junior & senior high school students

Combined evening joint community-wide event

May 2018 dates to be announced

Other school districts may also deliver assemblies and community-wide events.  Go to the www.rensco.com website for updates or call the Rensselaer County Health Department at 518-270-2626.

Topic(s): 
Community Outreach
Updated March 26, 2018