Tonko Introducing Legislation to Help Combat Opioid Crisis


Congressman Paul Tonko is taking on the opioid crisis. 

Federal officials have said it's a "public health emergency," but the Democrat says he's worried that not enough is being done. 

He spent part of his day on Thursday at the Albany County jail, getting a first-hand look at Sheriff Craig Apple's Heroin Addiction Recovery Program.

Apple says “They don’t get any special treatment. They’re all addicts that are hopefully in recovery forever.”

Apple adds the program has had a surprising rate of success.

“When you hear about the relapse rates of 75%, I didn’t think we’d be able to do half the success that we’ve got.”

Tonko says he's planning to introduce legislation to restore Medicaid benefits to recovering inmates 30 days before their scheduled release.

“We don’t have time to waste. We don’t have time to say no, we need to be smart about this, which I think the program is.”

Tonko adds “My concern is that the statistics tell us that in the first week or two past release, you’re about eight times more at risk of a death to overdose.:

Tonko plans a round table discussion this weekend, and has invited a recovering addict from Saratoga Springs to be his guest at Tuesday's State of the Union address.

Photo: Getty Images


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