By Joe Angelino
Last Thursday October 26th, the heroin dependence issue received needed attention at the federal and state levels. President Trump declared the opioid addiction crisis a National Health Emergency, while a few hours later state Senator Fred Akshar and Assemblyman Clifford Crouch held a public hearing on the proposed opening of a state funded, privately operated opioid addiction detoxification treatment center. Itís not really clear what the Presidentís declaration will do to help, but it was crystal clear what our State Representatives have planned. Their proposed treatment center will be in the former Broome Developmental Center in the Town of Dickinson, which is in both of the elected officialís respective districts.
The public hearing was held at Chenango Valley High School, with the auditorium being at near capacity for over two hours. In addition to the aforementioned Senator and Assemblyman, those present on the ten person panel to hear comments and answer questions were Broome County social service and law enforcement officials, subject-matter experts and Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, whose district adjoins the Town of Dickinson.
For many years the Broome Developmental Center was a residential treatment facility for people with developmental disabilities which had a payroll of up to 600 employees. A portion of this 380,000 square foot facility will be repurposed into an opioid detoxification center offering residents in this region a medical facility to deal with the current addiction menace.