Public defender calls for ‘new approach’ to heroin

HUDSON–“Heroin is a scourge. It’s not only a police and crime problem. It’s a health problem. It’s a vertical malignancy,” Public Defender Robert Linville told the Columbia County Board of Supervisors Public Safety Committee at its meeting Thursday, July 16.

He said that heroin addiction is passed down through generations, adding, “We are awash in it in Columbia County,”

“Our children have friends who have died of it,” Mr. Linville said. “I know pregnant women who are addicted. Their babies will be born addicted.” Sometimes the mother was born addicted.

Supervisor Rev. Edward Cross (D-Hudson, 2nd Ward) noted that another way that addicted parents pass their habit on to their children is by example.

Mr. Linville said, “In the U.S., as you know, there has been a sharp increase in heroin deaths in recent years. We need a new approach to handling the problem.” He said he wanted to come up with concrete suggestions next month.

Also at the meeting, Captain Thomas H. Lanphear of the county Sheriff’s Office asked the supervisors to adopt a resolution against a bill in the State Assembly that would forbid putting a pregnant woman in restraints for transport, with few exceptions. The reasons he gave for opposing the bill included the extra paperwork required for justifying an exception.

The Committee voted to send the proposal to the full board for discussion. A call to help find possible supporters of the bill was not returned.

The next meeting of the Public Safety Committee will take place Thursday, August 20, at 5 p.m. at 401 State Street in Hudson.

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