Westchester leaders come together to fight opioid crisis

Posted: Updated:
Westchester County leaders are focusing today on building a system of care for people with mental health and substance-use disorder needs. Westchester County leaders are focusing today on building a system of care for people with mental health and substance-use disorder needs.
WHITE PLAINS -

Westchester County leaders came together Monday to fight the growing opioid crisis.

The Westchester Community Mental Health Department hosted a meeting at the County Center that focused on building a system of care for people with substance abuse and mental health needs.

Organizers said the meeting was crucial in the fight against the drug epidemic.

"There's a correlation between mental health, substance use and fatalities, so it's important all of us take a lead role in addressing this important concern," said DCMH Commissioner Michael Orth.

Stephanie Marquesano, who founded the Harris Project after her 19-year-old son died of an overdose, said they have to get the message to today's youth.

"By focusing on our young people and the paths to get to substance misuse and addiction, and looking at co-occurring disorders and where people fit in, that's the home run, and easiest and earliest way to change outcomes," Marquesano said.

The yearly gathering connects county health providers, families, consumers and advocates in a communitywide effort to address opioid abuse.

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