The Rural Schools Association of New York

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RSA Board Member on Task Force

Last year Governor Cuomo commissioned the Heroin and Opioid Task Force to report on the state of this issue in New York. This task force included RSA Board Member Tom O’Brien, Roxbury Schools Superintendent. The resulting report, Combatting the Heroin and Opioid Epidemic, outlines a very thorough study of the issue, with 25 recommendations in the areas of prevention, treatment, recovery, and enforcement. We can see that the impacts on our school children mirror those of children whose parents have abandoned them in some way – death, foster care, debilitating illness or addiction. They have difficulty forming trusting relationships, have a shortened or absent sense of future and hope, and often become drug users themselves during adolescents. While opioid abuse has declined in recent years, heroin abuse has taken its place, and is skyrocketing. We cannot address the impacts on the children without supporting measures toward prevention, treatment, recovery, and enforcement. It is well worth your time to read the document – it is very accessible and well-written.

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