Green Is­land fo­rum fo­cuses on heroin ad­dic­tion

The Record (Troy, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Ni­cholas Buo­nanno nbuo­ @Nick­Buo­nanno on Twit­ter

The Heatly School gym­na­sium was filled with com­mu­nity mem­bers, elected of­fi­cials and first re­spon­ders Wed­nes­day night as they came to­gether for a heroin aware­ness town hall meet­ing.

The vil­lage co-hosted the event with Al­bany County Sher­iff Craig Ap­ple, with Ap­ple re­cently de­cid­ing to do two-hour long aware­ness meet­ings in dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ties around the county and be­yond.

Ap­ple says the county has al­ready con­firmed 25 fa­tal over­doses this year, with at least 65 more wait­ing for tox­i­col­ogy re­ports.

“We’ve done maybe three of four of these so far and I re­ally don’t have a de­fin­i­tive num­ber. I think we’re go­ing to CBA next and we’re go­ing to con­tinue to go around,” Ap­ple said. “Peo­ple some­times say ‘don’t you feel like a bro­ken record’? Well no, not re­ally be­cause I know I am go­ing to touch 40 to 50 more peo­ple tonight here and those 50 peo­ple can go out and tell even more peo­ple about aware­ness for heroin.”

Mayor Ellen McNulty-Ryan thought it would be a good idea to have Ap­ple host this aware­ness meet­ing in the vil­lage, since vil­lage po­lice of­fi­cers al­ready had an in­ci­dent when au­thor­i­ties were ex­posed to heroin af­ter some­one was us­ing the drug in a bath­room at a Dunkin Donuts.

Alan Shep­ard was ar­rested in De­cem­ber 2016 for al­legedly leav­ing heroin and fen­tanyl in the Green Is­land Dunkin Donuts bath-

room. Two of­fi­cers in­haled it and were sent to the hospi­tal.

“It’s im­por­tant on so many dif­fer­ent lev­els,” McNulty-Ryan said. “It’s im­por­tant for ev­ery­one to un­der­stand how big this epi­demic is, but it’s also im­por­tant to get train­ing for how to keep our first re­spon­ders and our po­lice of­fi­cers safe. We had our Chief and another of­fi­cer get taken out in an am­bu­lance when they were on a call. It’s im­por­tant for par­ents to bring their kids tonight, but it’s also im­por­tant for kids to bring their par­ents be­cause there are chil­dren whose par­ents have ad­dic­tions.”

Green Is­land School Dis­trict Su­per­in­ten­dent Teresa Sny­der agreed with McNulty-Ryan, say­ing that she does see stu­dents in her dis­trict trau­ma­tized be­cause of their par­ents or fam­ily mem­bers be­ing ad­dicted to heroin.

Ap­ple be­lieves “we’ve lost that war on drugs” and that law en­force­ment can’t just ar­rest their way out of this epi­demic.

“Law en­force­ment can only do so much. Nar­can can only do so much. It re­ally is go­ing to take that en­tire com­mu­nity ef­fort to fight this bat­tle and to have some great part­ners out there,” said Ap­ple.

Ap­ple has been host­ing these town hall meet­ing’s along with of­fi­cials from the Ad­dic­tions Care Cen­ter of Al­bany, Inc., Al­bany Med­i­cal Cen­ter Hospi­tal, Catholic Char­i­ties and CVS Phar­macy.


Dr. Michael Dai­ley of Al­bany Med­i­cal Cen­ter speaks to com­mu­nity mem­bers in Green Is­land Wed­nes­day dur­ing a heroin aware­ness town hall meet­ing.


Green Is­land Mayor Ellen McNulty-Ryan speaks about why the vil­lage wanted to host a heroin aware­ness town hall meet­ing.


Al­bany County Leg­is­la­ture Chair­man Sean Ward speaks about some of the sta­tis­tics re­lated to heroin over­doses.

Al­bany County Sher­iff Craig Ap­ple speaks about the im­por­tance of host­ing heroin aware­ness town hall meet­ings through­out the county.

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