Public Health & Safety

I was named a member of the Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction in 2014, at a time when regional law enforcement leaders and substance abuse treatment agencies were warning of the escalating abuse of heroin.

We all know what’s occurred since then: the rise of heroin has become a public health crisis.

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Senator O’Mara sponsored a Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction public forum in Yates County earlier this year.

I’m proud of the work that the Senate Task Force on Heroin has done over the past several years.  The news law, and programs and services, which have been enacted directly reflect the local input we’ve received at numerous public forums across New York State, including those I’ve sponsored in Elmira and Penn Yan.

This includes the most recent announcement, in late July, that $1 million in state funding is being awarded to Cayuga Addiction Recovery Services in Trumansburg (Tompkins County) to construct a new, 25-bed residential treatment facility to treat patients  suffering from substance use disorders.

We know that treatment and recovery services are cornerstones of this ongoing battle against heroin and opioid addiction. These new residential treatment beds are critical.  I commend and I look forward to continue working with Governor Cuomo and his administration, Cayuga Addiction Recovery Services, my colleagues on the Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction and all of the local leaders, law enforcement officers and concerned citizens doing our best to strengthen the state-local-federal partnership that’s needed to effectively combat this heroin and opioid epidemic.  Read more HERE.

We’ve taken additional, comprehensive, important action again this year that will continue to strengthen our four-pronged anti-heroin response: prevention, treatment, recovery and enforcement.  Read more on this year’s critical actions — and know that this is a long-term fight and much more will need to be done.  I’m committed to doing whatever it takes to save lives from this deadly drug.

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“The devastation, tragedy and violence associated with heroin, meth, bath salts and other illegal drugs is our number one public health crisis,” said Senator O’Mara, who sponsored a Senate Task Force hearing in Elmira in 2014.

I also remain focused on the fact that it seems like there’s another meth-related bust or lab discovery every week somewhere across the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions.

There’s just no denying that we’re witnessing a disturbing rise throughout many local communities in drug-related addiction, violence and tragedy. It continues to draw local, federal and statewide alarm, and it should.

On this front, regional district attorneys, sheriffs, police departments, and other law enforcement agencies continue to perform outstanding service. If you suspect criminal activity, you should never hesitate to report it. The offices of county sheriffs throughout the 58th District can be contacted at:

To those caught in the terrible spiral of drug abuse and addiction, we need to let them know that there are ways out and treatment is available. Information on substance abuse services in area counties can be obtained at:

However most critical of all is the consistent message we keep sending to our young people about the dangers of substance abuse, in all its forms. The dangers and endless pitfalls associated with illegal drugs should never be taken lightly or dismissed out of hand. Too often the abuse of one drug leads to the abuse of another, more addictive, dangerous and destructive substance.