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Schools and Town Host Community Forum on Heroin, Prescription Drug Abuse

MONTROSE, NY. Heroin is here in the Hudson Valley and its popularity is growing. From Yonkers to Poughkeepsie, and everywhere in between, heroin use is on the rise, and young people are becoming its victims.

A February 25 community forum entitled “Prescription Drugs and Heroin: What our Community Needs to Know to Stay Safe,” sponsored by Hendrick Hudson Superintendent Joseph Hochreiter and Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi, will offer an opportunity for parents and other concerned citizens to ask questions and learn more about what they can do to protect our youth from the threat of heroin.

In late January the area was rocked by the news of the three alleged overdose deaths of Thomas Coogan, 23, of Buchanan; Whitney Delhay, 28, of Dobbs Ferry; and Tyler Seger, 19, of Cortlandt – a 2012 Hendrick Hudson High School graduate and lacrosse player. 

Press and police accounts have made the connection between heroin and prescription drug abuse—either drugs obtained from home medicine cabinets, or purchased illegally on the street—and parents are worried.

A panel of experts will be on hand to help us understand the hows and whys of heroin and prescription drug abuse: Steven Kipnis, MD, Medical Director, New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services; Robert Kelly, Executive Director, Westchester Intelligence Center, Westchester County District Attorney’s Office; Colleen Anderson, MSEd, CPP, Youth Center Director, Town of Cortlandt, Recreation Department; Angela Alvarado, LMSW, Student Assistance Counselor, Hendrick Hudson High School; Jeffery Veatch, Parent, and founder of the Justin Veatch Fund; and representatives from both the Westchester County Department of Public Safety and the New York State Police.

Attendees will learn about current enforcement and legal activities to reduce heroin and illegal prescription drug sales in our area; how prescription drug abuse can lead to misuse, heroin use, and addiction; treatment and overdose prevention options; and town and school prevention strategies.

“We have heard the concerns of parents in our district and we are here to help,” said Hendrick Hudson Superintendent Joseph Hochreiter. “Every facet of our community, from municipal and county governments, to social service agencies and law enforcement, to schools and churches, has to participate in the effort to stop heroin and prescription drug abuse. The future of our youngest citizens is at stake.”

The forum is set for Tuesday, February 25, at Hendrick Hudson High School, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. For more information, please contact Colleen Anderson at (914) 736-0498 or Angela Alvarado at (914) 257-5869. 

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