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County Continues Fight Against Opioid Epidemic
Molinaro Joins Schumer Calling for Additional Resources to Combat Deadly Fentanyl

Published: 2/20/2019

For More Information Contact:

Colleen Pillus
845-486-2000
Email: cpillus@dutchessny.gov

Poughkeepsie … Dutchess County continues to battle the opioid epidemic, particularly educating residents about fentanyl, a potent opioid responsible for a growing number of overdose deaths nationwide. County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro joined Senator Charles E. Schumer yesterday highlighting the deadly impact of fentanyl and the need for additional tools to combat this dangerous drug.

Fentanyl is a synthetic, short‐acting opioid analgesic, 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Fentanyl‐related overdoses have been increasingly linked to illegally manufactured fentanyl and fentanyl analogues.  In Dutchess County, in 2017, there were 87 accidental overdose deaths, of which 48 involved fentanyl.

“Fentanyl is one of the most vicious drugs we have ever faced,” noted Senator Schumer during the press event in Poughkeepsie yesterday where he called for Congressional support of the “Providing Officers with Electronic Resources Act,” a bipartisan bill which creates a new grant program through the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) that will help state and local law enforcement secure new high-tech, portable screening devices to quickly, effectively and safely identify dangerous drugs like fentanyl in the field.

County Executive Molinaro said, “Across the country and throughout our local communities, abuse of opioids has claimed the lives of too many of our friends and loved ones. In Dutchess County, we continue ‘Breaking Through’ the obstacles to recovery and broaden our network of resources, all with one goal: saving lives. We have already achieved successes, and we are helping more residents take the first step on their path to becoming productive members of their community, free from the grip of substance use.   But substances like fentanyl challenge our efforts with deadly outcomes. We will utilize every tool available to us to combat fentanyl to save lives, including electronic resources to help law enforcement to identify these deadly drugs.”

Such screening devices would augment Dutchess County’s aggressive and innovative efforts to prevent opioid overdoses and save lives. 

Among Dutchess County’s ongoing efforts to combat the opioid epidemic:

  • Complementing Dutchess County’s existing data-sharing program, the United States Department of Justice in October 2018 awarded Dutchess County Behavioral & Community Health (DBCH) a $999,985 grant,  enabling DBCH to create Data-Driven Opioid Response Collaborative,  enhancing the department’s overdose surveillance and monitoring; undertake comprehensive capacity-building initiatives aimed at integrating harm reduction principles into existing service delivery models; and identify and address disparities in access to behavioral health services.
  • When clusters of illegal opioid use are identified, the Department of Behavioral and Community Health (DBCH) has produced educational materials to distribute. These materials speak to those illegally using opioids and in plain language, explaining the deadly effects of substances like fentanyl and encouraging them to seek help through the Dutchess County HELPLINE (845-485-9700) or the County’s Stabilization Center (230 North Road, Poughkeepsie).
  • DBCH staff has also trained medical professionals throughout the community – both family doctors and pharmacists – to recognize opioid misuse and help Dutchess County connect those struggling to find their path to recovery.
  • The evidence-based “Second Step” program, which prevents substance use through a social-emotional curriculum focusing on empathy, communication, problem-solving and bullying prevention, is now being used in 20 schools throughout Dutchess County, averting substance use in youngsters before it starts.
  • Dutchess County’s Recovery Coach, who has overcome his own struggles with addiction, has a presence in the County’s various substance use programs and services, including the Stabilization Center, and has helped approximately 80 percent of his clients living with chemical dependency reach their next stage of recovery. 

County Executive Molinaro will discuss the opioid epidemic, among other topics, during his 2019 State of the County address on Wednesday, February 27th at 5:30 p.m. at the Culinary Institute of America’s Marriott Pavilion, Ecolab Auditorium. During his address, County Executive Molinaro will outline the focus and priorities for Dutchess County Government in 2019. The State of the County address event is open to the public. To learn more about the event and to RSVP visit dutchessny.gov/rsvp.