Donovan, Malliotakis, Borelli Launch Push for Federal Response to Drug Addiction
Staten Island, NY—February 18, 2016....Congressman Dan Donovan (NY-11), together with Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis and Council Member Joseph Borelli, launched a push for a comprehensive federal response to the opioid and heroin abuse epidemic. The elected officials joined Luke Nasta, Executive Director of Camelot of Staten Island, and Cecilia Olsen, whose family has dealt first-hand with the challenges of drug addiction. Participants rallied in support of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, Congressional legislation to authorize grants for local education, treatment, and enforcement programs.
Congressman Donovan said, “Too many parents have buried their sons and daughters, or watched them struggle for years with addiction, treatment, and relapse. It has to stop. As our community’s crisis has turned into a nationwide epidemic, it’s clear the federal government’s response hasn’t been enough. Congress must act to provide the resources necessary to turn the tide against addiction.”
“We need every possible tool to put an end to this horrific drug epidemic that is killing our young people and destroying our families. I will continue to work with Congressman Donovan and others to advocate for measures that will help tackle this horrific drug epidemic with preventive measures, treatment options and law enforcement tools," said Assemblywoman Malliotakis.
Council Member Borelli said, “I look forward to this act being included as part of a multi-layered approach, coordinating the resources of the federal, state, and city governments, to address the far-reaching effects of the opioid epidemic through the expansion of prescription-pill disposal opportunities, and the implementation of creative treatment options. I know that my constituents will appreciate the work being done by Congressman Donovan to provide federal resources to address this issue.”
The officials stressed the importance of federal, state, and local collaboration in combatting the epidemic. Federal resources can assist on-the-ground efforts, but local jurisdictions and treatment organizations know how to most effectively fight the scourge of addiction. In addition to saving lives and families, federal investments to grant local organizations the tools necessary to curb drug addiction would likely yield long-term savings given the commensurate reduction in the costs of incarceration and treatment.
Nationwide, the number of heroin-related deaths has quadrupled since 2002. In New York City, nearly 797 people died from unintentional overdoses in 2014, with 57 percent of them involving heroin. Seventy-five percent of heroin users started out abusing prescription pills.
Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act Summary
Authorizes federal agencies to make grants to:
- expand educational efforts to prevent abuse of opioids, heroin, and other substances of abuse, understand addiction as a chronic disease, and promote treatment and recovery;
- implement community-wide strategies that address local drug crises;
- implement treatment alternative to incarceration programs;
- create a demonstration law enforcement program to prevent opioid and heroin overdose death;
- dispose of prescription medications to expand or make available disposal sites for unwanted prescription medications;
- implement medication assisted treatment programs through their criminal justice agencies;
- implement educational programs for incarcerated offenders;
- address the use of opioids and heroin among pregnant and parenting female offenders in a state to promote public safety, public health, family permanence, and well-being;
- establish or expand veterans treatment court programs, peer to peer services or programs for qualified veterans, practices that identify and provide treatment, rehabilitation, legal, and transitional services to incarcerated veterans, and training programs to teach criminal justice, mental health, and substance abuse personnel how to identify and appropriately respond to incidents involving veterans;
- prepare a comprehensive plan for and implement an integrated opioid abuse response initiative;
- enable high schools and colleges with substance abuse recovery programs and nonprofit organizations to provide substance abuse recovery support services to high school and college students, to help build communities of support for young people in recovery, and to encourage initiatives designed to help young people achieve and sustain recovery; and
- enable recovery community organizations to develop, expand, and enhance recovery services.