Tackling The Drug Crisis

The fight against opioid and other drug abuse is the struggle of our time. We must bring every tool at our disposal to tackle it with full force, not just legislation, but we must better allocate funds and resources as well. This is a crisis that is always personal, deeply impactful to families, and touches everyone in our towns. I’ve felt it, as have too many of my friends and neighbors. What we need, and what I’ll bring as your County Legislator, is a stronger coalition based approach, bringing all levels of government to the same table to combat this crisis.

Coalitions Work

When I worked for Congressman Maloney’s local office in 2014, I saw first hand what was working and what was not working in this struggle. Throughout Orange, Dutchess, Putnam, and Westchester Counties, I studied the impact communities could have on turning back this tide - and what was the most effective way different levels of government could put their resources to use.

I was then one of the initial members of the Philipstown Community That Cares (CTC) Coalition and I put this experience to use. We brought together school administrators, clergy, psychologists, parents, business owners, law enforcement and local government - creating the right mix to turn talk into action. What we needed was resources - money - to drive coordination efforts.

Regulations like Tobacco 21 can help - But RESOURCES would be better. The Putnam County Task Force - made up elected officials and senior administrators - has a great opportunity to provide these resources. Instead they duplicate the mission of the coalition and the job of legislators by proposing more laws, instead of setting aside much needed resources. Since this Task Force has been working. Putnam County has not allocated a single new dollar towards drug abuse prevention, education, awareness, or recovery resources for our towns. Not one dollar. 

Prioritizing the War on Drugs means dollars and sense.

In Philipstown we knew prioritizing this fight meant more than talking and making laws - it meant money. Yes, I led the legislative effort to keep vape shops from our town - it was a common sense approach to limit the exposure of these gateway substances. But I am more proud of the effort I led to create, fund and staff our town’s first Prevention, Treatment and Recovery Coordinator. A role we created and funded to act as a central point of education efforts and connection to local, state, and federal resources for the benefit of everyone in our town - especially those in the midst of this crisis hitting home. We need to be able to fund these roles more than just the part-time level currently available. Our towns need full time help in this fight. And I will fight for full time funding of anti-drug and resource coordinators in Philipstown and Putnam Valley.

Bring Efforts together - and sit at ONE table. 

Elected and appointed officials - State Senators, Health Commissioners, County Legislators - need to be at OUR table. I am tired of decision makers sitting at their own table and not even giving themselves the opportunity to listen to our residents, our parents, our survivors. This crisis of opioid and drug abuse wants us to stay separate and siloed. Being spread thin and splintered - and hurting - this is where the crisis takes root. We need to make this struggle truly ONE fight - with everyone from our streets to our towns to Carmel working together and cooperatively. 

How great would that be!

- Nancy

October 2018

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