Police May Choose Treatment Over Arrest

GOSHEN – In a press conference yesterday, Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney stated, “everywhere I go I am approached by people who want to tell me about a problem they are having in their family or their community with heroin addiction or opioid abuse.” Port Jervis Police Chief William Worden stated, “Opioid addiction such as heroin and pain medications has raised to epidemic numbers in our communities” He went on to say, “All too often many who are addicted to heroin get involved in crime.” After spending several millions of dollars in resources and groups working all over Hudson Valley, taking steps to make Narcan, the drug that reverses overdose, widely available to first responders, and then hearing the final statistic that 70% of all county crimes have some connection to illegal drugs, Representative Maloney has decided to propose new legislation to attack the problem from a different angle. He has been focusing on a successful program working in Gloucester, MA and Seattle, WA that is now in Albany. Rep. Maloney is proposing legislation that would create a Department of Justice Grant program to fund pre-booking diversion programs in counties designated as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas – that include Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, and Westchester. Instead of law enforcement, arresting an offender and putting them in jail, police would have the option to take the offender directly to treatment. Rep. Maloney pointed out that the legislation would handle low-level criminality attached to addiction, such as street level prostitution or shoplifting, more cost effectively when an officer can determine that treatment may be the best course of action. Maloney said, “We need to do more and we need to do what’s working”.

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