Rep. Maloney proposes bill to treat drug abusers, low-level offenders

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney is reintroducing a bill to provide funding so officers can divert abusers and low-level drug offenders from jail.

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney is reintroducing a bill to provide funding so officers can divert abusers and low-level drug offenders from jail. (3/20/17)

POUGHKEEPSIE - Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney is reintroducing a bill to provide funding so officers can divert abusers and low-level drug offenders from jail.

Supporters say providing medical time instead of jail time is a better way to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic.

"We need to do better. We are burying too many of our neighbors. Heroin and opioid addiction is a terrible problem, and this is one part of the solution," says Maloney.

For the past month, officers have brought those who normally would have been arrested to the Dutchess County Stabilization Center in Poughkeepsie.

"Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, trained professionals are here to assist individuals, acknowledge the challenge they're facing, help them on the road to recovery,” says Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro.

Program directors can't guarantee a 100 percent success rate, but supporters say the diversion program is necessary to make a dent in the epidemic.

Despite all the proposed cuts in Washington, Maloney say he is confident the bill will pass since it has bipartisan support.

 

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