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NYS Senator Unveils Plan To Combat Heroin Epidemic

A freshman New York state senator is pushing forward with what he said was a priority if elected – beating back the scourge of the heroin epidemic. He is unveiling his plan this evening in Westchester County.

Republican state Senator Terrence Murphy will be at Mount Pleasant Town Hall in Westchester to roll out his agenda for stemming the heroin epidemic.

“I’m going to introduce my seven-point plan,” Murphy says. “And the seven point plan, I’m going to ask people for their reaction to it or if there’s any holes that they possibly think that are in my plan to speak up about it.”

His first point concerns insurance companies. Murphy wants allowances for admitting patients directly into long-term care for treating heroin addiction.

“So we’re looking for the insurance companies to come to the plate to allow these people to go right into, have a minimum of a 90-day stay,” says Murphy.

Murphy is after tougher penalties for traffickers. In the case of a fatal overdose, Murphy wants the heroin dealer to face a homicide charge. He also wants all first responders to be trained in administering Narcan, or Nalaxone, which is used to treat an opioid overdose. Murphy’s agenda calls for the restoration of funding to the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. In addition, he wants to ensure local, state, and federal governments are working together. The northern Westchester town of Cortlandt lies within Murphy’s 40th district. Democratic Town Supervisor Linda Puglisi applauds Murphy’s attention to the issue.

“He pledged to do this if elected and he’s true to his word. He’s working on it immediately,” says Puglisi. “He has attended some of our public forums in the past when he was a councilman in the Town of Yorktown. So he is fully aware of the serious issues in our region and in the nation, actually.”

Three young men died of heroin overdoses over the past year in Puglisi’s area. The forum in Mount Pleasant is the first of up to six Murphy is holding around his district over the next few weeks. He then plans to craft legislation based on input during the forums. It could be the first piece of legislation Murphy introduces as state senator.

“I mean it’s really become an epidemic in the Hudson Valley right here. And we need to wrap our hands around it. I have all intentions of doing it,” says Murphy. “Like I said in my campaign, this is going to be one of my number-one issues and we’re coming out of the gate swinging.”

Again, Puglisi.

“So we need to find those people that are selling this horrific drug, heroin, and we need to have harsher penalties, I agree with the senator wholeheartedly,” Puglisi says. “We support his efforts and we will be working with him to combat this serious epidemic in our community.”

And here’s Murphy.

“No family is immune to this,” says Murphy. “You have good, good kids that have been swept up into this because they go in for a shoulder surgery, they come out, they’re hooked on the OxyContin, and the next thing you know they’re going into their parent’s medicine cabinet, they’re looking for their drugs, they go into their neighbors, they can’t find it anymore, and then they go to the streets.”

Earlier this month, Westchester County officials announced that a year-long initiative to crack down on heroin sales resulted in 20 arrests. They say the 20 people were arrested on charges of selling heroin in northern Westchester.

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