Newly formed coalition takes on local heroin epidemic

NORWICH – A coalition bent on decreasing the use of heroin in Chenango County has taken on a more formal and organized approach in combating the drug epidemic at a local level.

Initially started as a one-time round-table discussion among area leaders in business, nonprofit, and human service organizations last September, the Chenango County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition (formerly the Heroin Task Force) has now evolved into a structured organization with 51 members and a mission of bringing together individuals and organizations to promote a clean, safe, and addiction-free community.

The coalition is the first ever multi-pronged approach in the county to thwart the heroin problem and its sweeping effects in the community.

“We have the general goal of educating and lowering the use of heroin in Chenango County through a broad representation across various agencies and businesses,” said Marcas Flindt, director of the Chenango County Department of Public Health and elected chairman of the Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition Steering Committee. “We want to be data driven and outcome based to try to have some impact on a community level of the heroin epidemic. But right now, we’re still in the early stages. We needed to have an organized structure first.”

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