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Liberty board hears heroin concerns

By Carol Montana
March 26, 2014

LIBERTY, NY — At its regularly scheduled board meeting on March 17, the Liberty town board heard from Terry Bauer regarding the increase in heroin use and the lack of crisis intervention in the county.

The Liberty resident was looking for support for the creation of crisis intervention, outreach programs and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings for individuals seeking to kick the heroin habit in Sullivan County.

“Heroin has made a tremendous resurgence,” said Bauer. “It’s killing our children and destroying our families.”

“So many individuals living in Livingston Manor, Callicoon and Jeffersonville are homeless, have no transportation, and have no ability to get to crisis and outreach centers,” continued Bauer. “This drug is a monster.”

Bauer reported that she has met with several individuals in the county looking for information and resources. “I believe we need to have an open discussion on how to create an outreach program and create more accessible NA meetings, and help those suffering find a way to get to them. We also need to have a discussion on how to reduce the amount of heroin getting onto our streets.”

Relating that she is currently providing shelter and support to a friend who is dealing with heroin withdrawal, Bauer’s tale included the individual being turned away from two hospitals because the bed they were promised was already taken by the time they got there. In another instance, she said that, even though the addicted individual has a heart defect, he was deemed “not sick enough” to warrant admission at that time.

“So this person is going through withdrawal in what I believe is an unsafe manner in my apartment, on my sofa.… ”

The hard part of starting an outreach program is not the venue, said Bauer, but the certification.

Additionally, Bauer reported that the Recovery Center in Monticello has temporarily suspended new admissions. While that fact has been verified, The River Reporter was unable to reach anyone in the administrative offices of The Recovery Center to discover the reason by publication deadline.

The town board, while admitting that they are not knowledgeable regarding the laws pertaining to the establishment of a drug outreach center, promised to keep the issue on their radar.

In other news, the Town of Liberty Animal Shelter has received a satisfactory rating from the Humane Society of Middletown. Municipal shelters are subject to inspection by the Humane Society on a regular basis per New York State’s Agriculture and Markets Laws and Regulations.