Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Heroin issue plagues Plattsburgh

Jasley Molina

In New York, the rate of Heroin admissions into treatment centers has increased by 30

percent. Currently, there are a few drug and substance centers in Plattsburgh; however, the

closest in-house drug recovery facilities for Plattsburgh residents are located in Albany and


           As of January 2016, to combat the Heroin problem in Plattsburgh, Governor Cuomo

announced a new funding plan that will help add more treatment centers and programs in areas

such as Syracuse, Troy and Plattsburgh.  The Champlain Valley Family Center will be

incorporating a new detox program in their center. The news of this has Plattsburgh residents

expressing polarizing opinions on whether this program will be enough to combat the Heroin

problem in Plattsburgh.

         Former employee of Walmart Edekira Liberato noted the necessity for more rehabilitation

centers in Plattsburgh. “Last semester, I worked at Walmart, and the side effects of drug use

were observable in nearly 90 percent of the workers there, ranging from rotten to missing teeth,

and blotches in the skin,” Liberato said. She also said that some of her coworkers were “twitchy

and unable to focus.” Whenever she decided to walk to Downtown Plattsburgh, she would see

one or two used syringes on the street. Liberato supports the idea of having a new rehabilitation

center in Plattsburgh. She believes that with the new facility, more people suffering from Heroin

addiction will have support for breaking the habit; however, she also believes that there is a

possibly that it will be difficult having a center in Plattsburgh because of the exposure and access

the patients may have to drugs in Plattsburgh. “It seems that it is not uncommon to have

problems with drug use around town, so it might be difficult for people to kick off the habit

when they are constantly being exposed to cues and surrounded by other drug users.” Liberato


           Daniela Hernandez is a sophomore at SUNY Plattsburgh. She says that she is skeptical

about the state’s funding plan and detox facility addition. As a student, she believes that the

Heroin problem in Plattsburgh can easily become a problem on campus. She recalls going to an

off-campus party and seeing someone snort a “suspicious looking white powder that looked like

crack.” She was on her way to the bathroom. She opened the door and saw three men snorting

the white powder from sink. Others were around her when she opened the door; however, no one

reacted to the situation. She believes that the use of one drug and can lead to people

experimenting with “harder stuff” like Heroin. Hernandez is skeptical about the detox facility

because she feels that the city of Plattsburgh has “spent too much money and time on combatting

a problem that still has no resolution.” While she hopes that the number of drug admission

decreases, she is doubtful that the center can single-handedly solve the problem.

           Old Navy employee Elida Espinosa says that this program will not work because it is the

college students that bring drugs from their hometowns to Plattsburgh.“You can see it at parties,

in broad daylight, I saw it once in the mall. It was two guys. They popped out the car and they

look really off.” She described the two men being extremely fidgety and paranoid.  They

appeared to be chewing on their tongues and scratching their arms profusely. She has also

witnessed a lot of suspicious activity around the Renaissance Village Suites in Plattsburgh.

Espinosa says that mentors and advocates should reach out to communities and campuses and

educate them on the consequences for consuming drugs. “You have to take small steps with

this,” Espinosa said.

          Kayla LeGendre is a housekeeper in Plattsburgh. She belives that there is a lot of addicts

roaming the streets of Plattsburgh. She recalls once being at the Champlain Center parking lot

and almost stepping on a syringe. “A lot of people are living off of government assistance in

Plattsburgh. Some of these people have nothing to do, so they start experimenting with stuff they

shouldn’t. Everything is handed to them. It is hindering the city’s growth. They are making us to

do the extra work,” LeGendre said. LeGendre feels unsafe walking alone at night, especially in

Downtown Plattsburgh, because of the suspicious behavior in the streets; however, LeGendre is

hopeful that the Champlain Valley Family Center’s rehabilitation program will support those

who are struggling with sobriety.

         The Champlain Valley Family Center will be running this rehabilitation program in 2017.

If you know someone who is need of assistance for drug addiction, there are several outpatient

treatment locations in Plattsburgh: Champlain Valley Family Center located at 20 Ampersand

Dr., Plattsburgh. N.Y., Clinton County Mental Health and Addiction Services located at 16

Ampersand Dr., Plattsburgh, N.Y., and Conifer Park located at  80 Sharron Ave., Plattsburgh,


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