Pearl River, NY -- (9/21/16) Tom DePrisco, candidate for the 38th Senate District in New York, today released a statement regarding the alcohol and substance abuse issues in the Hudson Valley.
Preventative measures are essential. Alcohol and substance abuse awareness education in our schools must continue to be a priority. I am a firm believer in investing time and resources early on to ensure healthy and productive citizens later in life.
Law enforcement agencies must have sufficient funding and resources to continue the relentless enforcement of existing drug laws. Drug dealers should face maximum penalties as prescribed by NYS law upon conviction. Bail should not be considered in instances when dealers are arrested while awaiting adjudication of existing drug charges.
We must ensure that the law enforcement agencies in our multi-state area share all pertinent arrest information. I reference the arrests of Linda Famelico, age 60, in Rockland and Bergen Counties in May and July, respectively for selling oxycodone pills. This case should remind everyone that not all drug dealers are as they are portrayed on television or in the movies.
I cannot support the legalization of marijuana in New York State. For many individuals, marijuana use could become a gateway to narcotics or other substance abuse. Although some believe marijuana use to be safe, unfortunately way too many individual’s brains are not “wired” for marijuana use resulting in varying mental health problems. However, I do support New York’s Medical Marijuana Program for patients who could benefit from its use.
The antidote Naloxone has been crucial in reversing many reported opioid/heroin overdoses. I wholeheartedly agree in having available these medical resources to save lives. Several law enforcement officers have expressed concerns that heroin addicts will become empowered to continue to use heroin while believing that someone will be available to administer the Naloxone antidote when needed. We must be careful not to enable these heroin addicts.
As a society, we need to ensure that there are an adequate number of successful rehabilitative programs available for those addicted to narcotics, marijuana, opioids/heroin, etc. District attorneys and judges should have the capabilities to recommend and remand qualified convicted drug users to long-term rehabilitation facilities. This should result in more productive, healthy and employable members of society.
As stated earlier, dealing with this epidemic must remain apolitical and without outside influence by any special interest groups or companies. There are drug businesses that are, in addition to continuing to manufacture the typical opioid painkillers, are also producing pills that cannot be altered for misuse or abuse. Many experts believe this will not solve the opioid/heroin epidemic. Drug abusers simply purchase pills and swallow them. My concern is the reported $3.7 million contributed to members of our state legislature, including my opponent, from the Pain Care Forum. This organization is comprised of drug manufacturers and associated opioid advocacy groups.
While my goal is to reduce and hopefully eliminate the opioid/heroin epidemic, I would also suggest strict scrutiny of such contributions to elected officials during this crisis."
Tom DePrisco is a resident of Pearl River. He serves as the Vice President of the Pearl River School District School Board and the Rockland County School Boards Association. For more information visit www.TomDePrisco.com.