Senator Jeff Klein, along with the Morris Park Community Association and NYS’s Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services, is holding on Monday, September 19 at Maestro’s Caterers, a town hall on heroin addiction in the Bronx. The forum will also offer free Naloxone training.
According to data released by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, in 2013 the Bronx had the highest rate of overdose deaths involving heroin.
From 2010-2013, the largest amount of heroin overdoses in New York came in the 35 to 54 age range.
However, the largest increase in overdoses during that time period came in the 15 to 34.
Heroin use and it’s dangers have been a growing conversation across the country as more statistics are released on overdoses and more deaths are reported in the news.
Most recently a picture circled on social media of two parents in Ohio who had overdosed in a car while their four-year old child was in the backseat.
Klein said earlier in the year the senate established a Heroin Task Force.
“We understood clearly that this was an epidemic of very diverse proportions,” said the senator. “This is something that affects every community across New York State.”
Klein said one of the steps the senate took was to allocate $189 million to a comprehensive heroin treatment program.
Governor Cuomo signed legislations in June that would allocate the money for the program.
The program includes measures to make sure insurance issues do not hinder proper treatment.
In addition the program looks to enhance treatment services in the state for heroin addiction and strengthen community prevention strategies against heroin addiction.
While the senate is addressing heroin abuse statewide, Klein thought it prudent to do something for his constituents in the Bronx.
“In the Morris Park Community we’ve had at least three heroin overdoses in the last several months,” said Klein. “So I want to make sure that we bring attention to the problem, actually highlight the resources that are now available from the state to fight this heroin epidemic and talk a lot about the legislation and information that we’re able to achieve in this legislative session.”
The senator said he has had residents and members of the community reach out to his office about heroin abuse.
He said he wants to hold forums on the subject to let residents know that “help is on the way.”
“I think many people do not know the extent of the program that we just initiated in New York,” said Klein.
“We’re going to provide free Nalaxone training,” Klein added and also said Arlene Gonzalez-Sanchez, commissioner for OASAS, will be present to provide information on the programs available to help with heroin addiction.
Nalaxone is the drug commonly administered while someone is overdosing in order to resuscitate them.
Klein said in addition to the training and information, he hopes the program will “help save lives.”