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County to Hold Public Forum to Discuss Needs for Individuals Living with Chemical Dependency
Drugs & alcohol are destroying lives; be part of the solution

Published: 4/5/2018

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Colleen Pillus

Poughkeepsie … Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro invites residents to share their input as the Department of Behavioral & Community Health (DBCH) holds its annual public forum on the service needs for individuals living with chemical dependency. The forum, which is free and open to the public, will be held on Thursday, April 19th from 4-6 p.m. at the DBCH Training Room, 230 North Road, Poughkeepsie.

Breaking ThroughCounty Executive Molinaro said, “Opioid addiction is the public health epidemic of our lifetime, and Dutchess County is eager to hear from residents’ views about this crisis and other issues those living with chemical dependency face. We need residents to tell us what is working in Dutchess County and, just as importantly, what is not working and what we need to know to assist those in our community who are suffering from addiction. Your input at this forum can save lives.”

Family members of those struggling with chemical dependency, caretakers, service providers and community stakeholders are urged to attend this forum, as their input will help shape DBCH’s 2019 Service Plan. Residents who cannot attend or don’t feel comfortable sharing their input in a public setting can submit their comments online at

Sharon Herring, a member of the Board of Trustees for the Matt Herring Foundation, will be the guest speaker at the Forum. Based in Fishkill, the foundation is named after Matt Herring, who passed away from an overdose in August 2017. The grassroots organization is committed to providing support through education, awareness, advocacy and through policy, as well as legislation. The Matt Herring Foundation aims to provide assistance to individuals who are struggling, as well as their families and loved ones, while working with providers, seeking and implementing services, and finding alternatives to opiate abstinence.

Dutchess County Government offers myriad programs and services for those struggling with chemical dependency, as well as their loved ones, including:

  • Dutchess County HELPLINE. Residents can call or text (845) 485-9700 to talk to an experienced and caring mental health professional – 24 hours a day, seven days a week – and receive chemical dependency and mental health counseling, support, information about available options, and referrals to local service providers.
  • Mobile Intervention Team. Dispatched by HELPLINE staff, Mobile Intervention Team members are mental health professionals available 24/7 to travel to those experiencing chemical dependency or mental health issues, providing assessments and connections to community-based services.
  • Dutchess County Stabilization Center. A voluntary and welcoming walk-in facility, located at 230 North Road in Poughkeepsie, the Stabilization Center is open 24/7 and staffed by trained mental health professionals eager to help residents in need of chemical dependency counseling, among other services.
  • Recovery coaches. Embedded in the Dutchess County Stabilization and the Dutchess County Jail, these mentors have turned their own struggles of addiction into the purpose of personal growth and societal change by helping others walk the long road to recovery.
  • Medication Assisted Treatment. Combining counseling and therapy with approved medications that relieve withdrawal symptoms, control cravings, and block the effects of opioids, this treatment has been highly effective; 85 percent of those in the program discontinue illegal use of opioids, and 60 percent maintain or improve their employment status by participating in the program.

Dr. Thomas Quinn, Deputy DBCH Commissioner, said, “Residents living with chemical dependency have a county that offers many options to help them on their journey to recovery. We encourage every segment of the community to attend this forum, be part of this important discussion and help us find solutions.”

Announced by County Executive Molinaro in October 2017, Dutchess County’s “Breaking Through” initiative seeks to break the stigma associated with chemical dependency and mental illness which all too often acts as a barrier, preventing those living with addiction from seeking assistance.

“Breaking Through” is a challenge to the entire community to learn about how people become addicted and better understand the harsh realities that people suffering with chemical dependency face. It is a call to action for every resident to provide the support and understanding that is necessary for anyone to travel down the difficult path to recovery.

A flyer about the forum is available online.