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Reed, area officials address opioid crisis ADVERTISEMENT

Reed, area officials address opioid crisis

SOUTHERN TIER--Congressman Tom Reed (R-Corning) stood with local law enforcement and community leaders Thursday, Aug. 24 at the Bath courthouse to address the opioid epidemic that is plaguing communities.
Reed stressed the importance of awareness, treatment, funding, and enforcement in order to tackle this issue. In effect, Reed plans reintroduce the Help Ensure Lives are Protected (HELP) Act.
Other issues discussed at the press conference were 21st Century Cures, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), and the Thin Blue Line Act.
"Victims and their families deserve justice. The opioid epidemic is destroying our communities and killing many of our young people. We must join together to combat this problem. The HELP act will give the law enforcement community another tool in their tool box to put a stop to this problem," Reed stated. "However, this is only once piece of the puzzle. We have to have a multi-pronged approach to dealing with this issue to assist those suffering helplessly from addiction. This is why I supported 21st Century Cures which provided over a billion dollars of federal grants and funding for CARA in order to assist states and local communities through prevention and treatment services to combat this tragedy head on."
The HELP Act, would allow federal prosecutors access to more severe penalties, including life in prison or the death penalty, when prosecuting certain criminal drug cases. The penalties would apply in the event prosecutors connect an overdose death to the drug dealer that sold heroin laced with fentanyl.
Information regarding other legislation included:
The 21st Century Cures
• It was signed into law December 2016
• Established $1 Billion over two years for grants to states to supplement opioid abuse prevention and treatment activities
Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA)
• It was signed into law July 2016
• Directs $103 Million to implement the following programs:
• Drug Courts
• Veterans Treatment Courts
• Residential Substance Abuse Treatment
• Prescription Drug Monitoring
• Mentally Ill Offender Act
The Thin Blue Line Act
• This legislation adds the murder of a state or local police officer as an aggravating factor for a jury to consider in deciding whether to impose the death penalty in federal capital cases.
"I recognize and thank Congressman Reed for his steadfast support of opioid related legislation as heroin use is truly an epidemic in the USA," said Sheriff Ron Spike of Yates County. "Increasingly, we are seeing it cut with fentanyl for added potency or straight fentanyl being sold for heroin, and it is becoming the tragic killing substance of so many that are addicted. His support for law enforcement officers with the Thin Blue Line Act increases the morale of these fine men and women on the front lines of peace keeping."
"The opioid problem is reaching new heights in our country," Chief Steven Decker of Watkins Glen Police Department noted. "It is not just a big city problem; this epidemic is impacting the smallest of villages. Watkins Glen has seen two opioid deaths in the last year alone. I am glad to support Congressmen Reed's legislation that will help law enforcement tackle this crisis head on."
"Communities throughout our region are suffering from the effects of opioid abuse," Assemblyman Phil Palmesano added. "I will stand with Congressman Reed to support of our local Law Enforcement officials. This legislation will empower them to hold drug dealers responsible for their actions. Too many are dying and it's time we stand up and bring awareness to the heroin problem we are facing."

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