Preston Creates Broome Opioid Abuse Council

Binghamton, NY – Broome County Executive Debbie Preston joined Commissioner of Social Services and Mental Health Art Johnson, Broome County Medical Director Dr. Christopher Ryan, Broome County Sheriff David Harder and Emergency Medical Coordinator Ray Serowik to unveil the new Broome Opioid Abuse Council, or “BOAC”.

“Heroin and opiate drugs are killing too many of our young people,” says Broome County Executive Debbie Preston.  “While much has been done to combat this problem, this task force is meant to take the elimination of these dangerous drugs to the next level.”


The new Council will address community education, outreach and prevention, law enforcement’s crackdown on these illegal drugs, educating medical professional on the problem as well as the role prescription opiates play and opiate abuse treatment.


“These drugs are affecting everyone in our community,” says Commissioner of Social Services and Mental Health Art Johnson.  “They don’t just affect the person addicted; they also affect the families and friends of those individuals and to a greater extent, the community.”


“We have taken steps to remove these illegal drugs from our streets,” says Broome County Sheriff David Harder.  “I think this new task force shines a brighter light on the problem and brings professionals together to work for a common solution.  I applaud the County Executive for her efforts.”


In the past year, nearly all law enforcement agencies and emergency personnel have started carrying Narcan, which is the lifesaving antidote to opiate overdoses.  It’s been used several times to save lives.


The Sheriff’s office has also set up two different prescription drug drop off boxes so that prescriptions can be disposed of safely.


“It’s not just people on heroin,” says Emergency Medical Coordinator Raymond Serowik.  “Some people are stealing prescription drugs from family members, that may need them, and that’s creating a dangerous situation for everyone.”


The county Mental Health Department has assisted UHS in expanding its Methadone Treatment capacity, as well as hosting numerous community forums on opiate addictions and abuse.


The County has put several links on its website providing information and phone numbers related to heroin and other opiate abuse aimed at individuals and families.


“We will attack this growing problem head on,” says Preston.  “We want to make sure everyone gets the help they need, which benefits themselves but also families that deal with the consequences of the actions of these addicts.”


01/08/2015 - 12:06pm