Latimer Announces New Wellness Initiative to Combat Westchester's Opioid Epidemic
Westchester County has decided to implement new strategies as an alternative to arrest or incarceration.
The Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health (DCMH), the District Attorney’s Office, County Health Department, and the Port Chester Police Department have come together to offer a new wellness initiative aimed at helping local residents overcome heroin addiction, implementing new strategies as an alternative to arrest or incarceration.
Rather than immediately charging users and those involved in undercover narcotics operations with criminal possession, the county has decided to offer opioid treatment services first.
This is the first time authorities have chosen to offer rehabilitation services through the DCMH’s programs instead of automatically arresting people involved. It’s a novel and innovative approach that shows how law enforcement and social services can work together for a positive outcome to fight addiction in the community.
Westchester County Executive George Latimer summarizes the new initiative's long-term goals, saying, “Strategic thinking and new ideas are the best way for us to stay ahead of Westchester’s unfortunate opioid epidemic.”
Watch the full press conference below.