This week the Attorney General announced a $1.1 Billion agreement with the “Three Big Distributors to Treat and Prevent Opioid Use in New York State.” Really?? Is that how you want your money to be spent? Oh, wait!! They don’t even specify how it will be spent. This is an incredibly complex issue and should not be dealt with by handing over millions of dollars to local governments without input from the public about what it will be spent on. Many counties, at least in our part of the state, already have drug rehabilitation centers, social workers, and a wide variety of health officials. Will this money be used to build more treatment centers without having data to determine whether the ones we already have show any longterm success, or which treatments work best? Will any of the money be used to come up with alternate medicinal treatments for severe chronic pain, ones that don’t have pages of warnings of possible life-threatening side effects? What about safe administration of cannabis treatments that will likely be coming down the pike soon? Has that plan been carefully thought out, as to how to determine what effect recreational marijuana will have on road safety, especially considering the multitude of varieties that may affect individuals differently? Or will it just end up as hiring new people and building more buildings before we know whether any of it will work. How about before we spend that kind of money, we get some real data, and determine some real alternatives for safe chronic pain relief.
And next, we could take a look at the reasoning behind the grants for area municipalities to help youth stay away from guns. $600,000 to encourage other alternatives for 120 Newburgh youth. Who will determine whether that funding will be given to some of the currently successful community organizations helping the young of the City? And how will success or failure of these programs be determined? Or will it just end up that “Some people are still taking drugs and picking up guns, so we still need more money.”