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Letter: Treat addiction as a public health crisis

The state is seeking bids for 25 residential

The state is seeking bids for 25 residential beds that would offer treatment for the first time to adults ages 18-25 battling prescription drug or opiate addiction on Long Island. Photo Credit: Bluestocking

One of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s aides said recently that the “huge problem” of opiate addiction is among the governor’s four chief priorities for the rest of this legislative session. I would like to thank the governor for his leadership in combating the public health crisis of heroin addiction [“Closing in on addiction’s roots,” News column, April 19].

At Outreach, a nonprofit organization that helps people address the issues stemming from drug and alcohol abuse, we have a unique view on the pervasive, destructive consequences of opiate addiction among people of all ages. We specialize in treating people ages 12 to 18 in residential and outpatient settings and have experienced a persistent rise in referrals at younger ages.

Addiction is a disease. We must approach this epidemic as we would any other public health crisis. We hope the governor and the State Legislature will make the tough decisions necessary to assist community-based solutions.

Kathleen A. Riddle, Richmond Hill

Editor’s note: The writer is the president and chief executive of Outreach.