All ages at Green Island heroin forum; sheriff says epidemic isn't getting better

October 12, 2017 09:34 AM

The mayor of Green Island says the opioid epidemic has reached her village. That's why she asked Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple to hold a town hall meeting on heroin at the Heatly School Wednesday evening.

From children to senior citizens, there wasn't an age group missing from the audience.

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"On a fairly regular basis, we deal with little boys and little girls who come to school traumatized because of familial addiction," said Dr. Teresa Snyder, school superintendent.

"We had a lot of parents who thought they couldn't bring their kids, and I said oh absolutely. They said we didn't know if there were things they should hear. There's absolutely nothing they shouldn't hear, but everything that they need to hear," said Mayor Ellen McNulty-Ryan.

Sheriff Craig Apple has been aggressively fighting the opioid epidemic for years now. He says it isn't getting better.

So far this year in Albany County. There have been 90 non-fatal overdoses, 25 confirmed overdose deaths, and more than 60 other deaths that are suspected to be from overdoses.  

"Not many days go by when I don't get a call from a mom or a dad asking us if we can lock up their son or lock up their daughter, at least they know she'll be safer, he'll be safer," said Apple.

The mayor says it was an incident last winter that really scared her.

Alan Shepard was arrested for allegedly leaving heroin and fentanyl in the Green Island Dunkin Donuts bathroom. Two officers inhaled it and were sent to the hospital.

"I'm concerned about our first responders. I'm concerned if a child went into a bathroom after an incident like that. No one would know what was wrong with the child," said McNulty-Ryan.

There was a lot to learn in Green Island Wednesday night. But most importantly, that help is out there.

"You can come tell someone if your parent has an addiction. We can get help for them," said McNulty-Ryan.

The mayor knows plenty about the grief an overdose can bring to a family. She's also a funeral director.  Saratoga County Sheriff Mike Zurlo was part of another heroin forum Wednesday night at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School.   



Asa Stackel

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