Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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January 13th, 2017

War on Heroin Never-Ending – Community Leaders Organize

Years ago just the mention of the word “Heroin” would draw chills up our spines – It was always regarded as the most dangerous and darkest of the illegal drugs out there.  But now – Heroin usage is as common and acceptable as drinking a can of Pepsi. And -That Must Stop!

Sullivan County is in the midst of a crisis involving the abuse of opiates – street drugs like heroin, and prescription drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone as well as others.

The abuse and use of illegal drugs and its problems cuts across all socio-economic boundaries, all ages, all races, and is a grim reminder of the deadly nature of these substances and the lives they continue to destroy. 

Not only are people dying, but the collateral damage left in the wake of this crisis effects fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, and friends and family and all of us as a society. 

While law enforcement in Sullivan County is diligently working to investigate, apprehend and prosecute the suppliers and sellers of this deadly poison they cannot solve this problem alone. 

A solution to this problem can only be found with an engaged community.

Throughout Sullivan County leaders from all walks of life have joined together to fight substance abuse.

United Way of Sullivan County along with Catholic Charites of New York in association with other community leaders and organizations is the latest to join forces to fight substance abuse in Sullivan County.

At a recent forum held in Rock Hill, Sullivan County Coroner and head of MobileMedic  Albee Bockman spoke about the alarming amount of overdoes in our community each and every day.

Monticello Mayor Douglas Solomon who is also a respected member of our law enforcement community also claims that the current heroin and opioid epidemic is devastating and he wants to see some changes in the way our judicial system treats those who are addicted.

Solomon says that those for are incarcerated for illegal drugs should also receive treatment while apprehended so when they are released they are not repeat offenders.

Julian Dawson, Executive Director of United Way of Sullivan County, and Martin Colavito of Catholic Charities are planning their next forums to be held in Monticello and Jeffersonville.

The Liberty Central School District, St. Peter’s Church Stewardship and Catholic Charities of Orange and Sullivan will present CHAT DAY 2017 on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017, from 9 AM to 1 PM at the Liberty High School to discuss the dangers of drug abuse with our youth.

The Science of Abuse and Art of Prevention is a free community-based drug abuse prevention program that features multi-component, age appropriate information sessions. The day will offer individual sessions for children between the ages of 9 and 18, adults and families.

District Attorney Jim Farrell, who has been a leader in fighting addiction will be the guest speaker.

District Attorney Jim Farrell told me “This crisis can only be solved by engaging our entire community.  To make sure that we educate and spread awareness and that we not only talk about what to do but engage in action to find a comprehensive solution.”

Farrell said, “One of the hurdles I face in bringing help to those who are afflicted and who have committed crimes as a result is the lack of any real incentive to address drug addiction when they first manifest themselves.  People will refuse treatment when they face a minor charge as they know that the penalties they face are also minor.  We need engagement at this time and my office is committed to referring these offenders to our drug court to intervene before the person overdoses or commits a violent crime, which will result in imprisonment.  To do that, I need the help of the families, who know well the behaviors of their loved ones and the defense bar to be part of the solution to the problems rather than kicking the can down the road which could portend calamity.”

“I also think that the failure of insurance companies to cover long term inpatient treatment needs to change.  We know that drug addiction is treatable and the success rate of treatment is directly related to the length of time one spends in treatment.  The longer the treatment the better the chance of success, but our insurance companies refuse to pay for long term treatment.  I had one mother tell me that she could not get her son into an inpatient crisis unit because her son was not high.  Are you kidding me?  Is this the state of our health care?  Insurance companies need to step up and provide coverage and provide long term rehabilitation.  We need to engage our legislature to make sure this coverage is provided,” Farrell added.

“Those who sell these drugs will face prison time and I will not divert the sellers and traffickers of these dangerous opiates,” District Attorney Farrell concluded.

 The Kingfisher Project is an ongoing community information and radio project based at public radio station, WJFF, Jeffersonville, NY, 90.5 FM.

The project was established in 2014 to honor the life of a young woman, Rebecca Pisall, 20, who was shot and killed on June 20, 2014, due to her addiction to heroin and a dispute over a $20 bag of heroin.

Her essay says a lot about why her mother, her teacher and some community volunteers have launched The Kingfisher Project.

The project is named for the injured bird Rebecca wrote about in her essay about the value of every life while a senior in high school, before she became addicted. 

Her former teacher, John Ogozalek, read the essay at Rebecca’s memorial service and a few days later, he read the essay and an intro to it on the program Making Waves. Since then, Rebecca’s mother Julie, Her teacher, Mr. O and a number of people decided they wanted to remember Rebecca by doing something that might be useful.

The Kingfisher Project produces community radio shows that tell the stories of those affected by addiction to heroin and other drugs.

They gather and provide resources and information that might be useful to anyone who needs it.

Most importantly, they keep the conversation going about heroin and drug abuse.

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself on National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the “MOUTH THAT ROARS” Column in THE SULLIVAN COUNTY POST.


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