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October 2017 Column - Fighting an Epidemic


OFFICE HIGHLIGHTS

We’ve all read the stories in the paper of the countless individuals suffering from the ongoing opioid epidemic. There has been a lot of talk of families being ripped apart by this tragedy, too often we hear talk but see little action.

Legislator Ted Morton joined Senator Patrick M. Gallivan, Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard, Holland Central School Superintendent Cathy Fabiatos and Alden School Superintendent Adam Stoltman to announce continued funding for school resource officers (SRO) in several local districts. The SRO program provides a uniformed officer in schools as a way to promote student safety, conflict resolution and anti-bullying initiatives.


At a Legislative session held on September 21, 2017, Legislator Ted Morton honored Lancaster resident, Dick Young as the September 2017 Citizen of the month.


Today, in response to the County Executive’s offer to work with Legislator Morton to develop a compromise Made in America Act, Legislator Ted Morton wrote to him to begin the process.


Legislator Ted Morton first introduced the Made in America Act in support of local manufacturers and local workers in Erie County. After passing the Legislature by a vote of 9-1, the County Executive vetoed the law after instructing the County Attorney to draft a legal opinion.


We’ve all read the stories in the paper of the countless individuals suffering from the ongoing opioid epidemic. There has been a lot of talk of families being ripped apart by this tragedy, too often we hear talk but see little action.

 

I lost my brother at a young age due to a drug overdose; I essentially have lived my entire life having been robbed of my older brother due to this epidemic. I have very little sympathy for drug dealers and have been in support of strict law enforcement efforts to cut off the supply of opioids and throw the book at those responsible for peddling this junk in our community. Many great organizations, like Kids Escaping Drugs and Save the Michaels of the World, provide many resources to help those struggling.

 

Here at the county I’ve worked with the County Executive and my colleagues in the Legislature to provide unprecedented resources to combat the epidemic. We’ve been a leader throughout the state and the nation, investing millions to help those in need by providing a new 24 hour hotline through Crisis Services and partnering with local groups and agencies by offering grants to develop new and innovative programs.

 

Education remains the key to preventing individuals from falling into the cycle. Promoting the county’s 24-hour hotline is a priority of mine since it provides access to critical information that has the potential to save lives. If you or someone you know is struggling with drug addiction, you can call 716-831-7007 to find support and services 24/7. You are not alone.

 

In addition, there continues to be a shortage of beds at facilities treating those suffering with the opioid epidemic. We also have to address how to best treat individuals who are in recovery from opioid addiction. As you can tell, we’ve made some progress but we have much more to do.  

 

I will continue to work with the County Executive and my colleagues to address this epidemic and provide necessary resources to save lives.

 

On another note, I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about the Made in America Act I introduced, which initially passed with a bipartisan 9-1 vote. I wanted to provide a brief update on where we are with the legislation. Although the Legislature failed to override the County Executive’s veto, I’ve been working with the County Executive and his staff to develop a compromise bill and hope to introduce it soon. We have so much that we can do to help grow our economy and support our local workers, the Made in America Act is one way to do so.

 

As always should you have any questions on this or any other issue, please give me a call at 858-8856 or send an email to ted.morton@erie.gov