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September 2015 Column - Community group forming to address growing drug issues


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.

For my column this month I wanted to talk about a very serious issue going on in our community. As many know, Depew and Lancaster face a serious drug problem. Recently several residents of Depew brought up concerns that drug transactions are occurring on their street. The police were informed that marijuana was being grown in plain sight. There are even serious issues with drugs at Lancaster High School.

Oftentimes residents are afraid to speak out in fear of retaliation from their neighbors. As drug problems expand, crime in our community worsens resulting in lower home values and a poorer quality of life. We need to work together to fight back against these problems. Many communities, including Cheektowaga, have community groups like the Depew-Cheektowaga Taxpayers Association and Dick Urban Community Association which give residents the chance to band together and address problems. These groups are key resources and it’s clear the residents of Depew and Lancaster need similar organizations to help address these issues and more.

I will be reaching out to fellow elected officials and community leaders as well as the Lancaster-Depew Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition to see how we can go about addressing these concerns. It can’t stop there. Together we can create organizations to help neighbors meet each other and learn ways to improve our community. We need to better connect residents with law enforcement, elected officials, school district personnel, and many other groups to ensure we are doing everything we can to help protect and improve our quality of life.

Perhaps knowing there are other neighbors as equally concerned, residents will speak up about problems they would otherwise keep quiet about in fear of retaliation. We can build a culture where the problems of the past are no longer tolerated. Attacking these issues head on will enable us to decrease crime in our communities, encourage small businesses to grow and hopefully bring more families into our community. We need to mobilize every stakeholder to create a broad, innovative strategy to tackle the problems associated with drug and alcohol abuse.

I’m determined to tackle these challenges for the sake of every single resident. If you are interested in helping establish a new community association, please call my office at 858-8856, together we can build a safer, stronger community.


I also wanted to remind you of important outreaches being held this month. Free Rabies Clinics will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on the following dates: Wednesday, Sept. 16 at the Erie Community College North Campus, Noonan Center Maintenance Garage, 6205 Main St., Amherst, and Wednesday, Sept. 23, at the Erie County Fire Training Academy, 3359 Broadway (near Union Rd.), Cheektowaga.