Chautauqua stakeholders discuss drug issues and how to fix them

Mar 17, 2015

Over 250 community stakeholders in Chautauqua County gather to discuss the area's drug-abuse issue
Credit Chautauqua County Executive / WBFO News

Key players in Chautauqua County gathered on Monday to discuss the area’s drug abuse problem and what is being done to fight it.

A rise in drug-related deaths and increases in prescription abuse leading to heroin addiction are some of the reasons for new and innovative tactics. Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan says community stakeholders are tackling at the issue from all angles.

“We’re looking at both the supply and demand side, so both the enforcement and the treatment side of the problem,” said Horrigan.

Horrigan says the County has implemented a number of counter-drug efforts, including public opiate prevention programs and training for emergency responders and residents in the use of Narcan.

Additionally, Horrigan said, “We’ve done a lot with expanding our treatment programs, these initiatives – I should say – where we’ve identified those initiatives that we’re going to now pursue.”

Horrigan says a holistic approach in schools is one of the main methods for reaching Chautauqua’s youth.

“Bringing healthy lifestyle training – not just on drugs but the whole concept of healthy lifestyle choices – into our school curriculum is something we’re working with BOCES on, and we see that as having a real benefit moving forward,” Horrigan said.

Horrigan says scare tactics don’t often resonate with today’s students, but a wellness program might have a better shot.

Through support from State Senator Kathy Young and Assemblyman Andy Goodell, Chautauqua County may be looking forward to new facilities for the fight against drug abuse.

“Supportive and transition housing initiatives which will help us with alternatives to incarceration and support center, along with an initiative to bring a Horizon House program possibly down in out county, that’s in Buffalo. So we might be able to have a residential treatment program – a 90-day treatment program here in the Jamestown area,” Horrigan said.

Horrigan says community reinforcement and family training will be a model for getting drug-abusers into the kind of treatment such facilities would provide.