Hope Not Handcuffs – Hudson Valley Representatives Take Part in Rockefeller Institute Forum on Opioids in Rural Communities

Hope Not Handcuffs – Hudson Valley
Annette Kahrs, Program Director

For Immediate Release

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Contact: Jordan Mayblum
Phone: 617-993-0003
Email: [email protected]

Hope Not Handcuffs – Hudson Valley Representatives Take Part in Rockefeller Institute Forum on Opioids in Rural Communities

Hope Not Handcuffs – Hudson Valley Program Director Annette Kahrs and law enforcement liaison, Montgomery Police Detective Sgt. Guy Farina, attended a forum on the opioid crisis last night in Albany. (Courtesy Photo Rockefeller Institute)

*Click here for video of the forum*

ALBANY, N.Y. — Hope Not Handcuffs – Hudson Valley is pleased to announce that Program Director Annette Kahrs and Law Enforcement Liaison, Montgomery Police Detective Sgt. Guy Farina took part in a panel discussion on the opioid epidemic last night.

On Wednesday, June 26, Hope Not Handcuffs – Hudson Valley (HNH-HV) was one of four featured organizations to take part in “Fighting Back,” a forum hosted by the Rockefeller Institute of Government in Albany.

The forum, photo exhibition and release of findings by Rockefeller Institute researchers emphasized the response to impact of the opioid crisis on rural New York communities like the ones HNH-HV serves in Orange, Rockland and Dutchess Counties. The photos highlighted 18 months of visits to Sullivan County during the Rockefeller Institute’s research.

Detective Sgt. Farina has done extensive work investigating and responding to domestic violence and sexual assault, and noted during last night’s discussion that those issues–like addiction–carry a stigma with them that must be eliminated before any one of them can be fully addressed.

“The opioid crisis is the kind of public health emergency that requires a united front to overcome, and we’re so honored to have been invited to take part in this forum and learn from organizations that are making such a meaningful impact,” Kahrs said. “Our law enforcement partners recognize this challenge and are committed to lending a helping hand to their communities by opening their stations as a gateway to recovery for those in need.”

HNH-HV was launched in 2018 as a way to forge a connection between local police departments and the members of their respective communities struggling with substance use disorders, building trust among all stakeholders toward a common goal. Since then, HNH-HV and its partner agencies have connected more than two dozen individuals with lifesaving recovery resources.

In addition, HNH-HV has recruited, trained and deployed over 350 Angel volunteers, who work on location with partner police departments to serve as a dedicated resource for those seeking help overcoming addiction. At last night’s discussion, Kahrs pointed to the dedication of those volunteers as a clear indicator of the desire among members of the Hudson Valley community to address the opioid crisis in new ways.

“It’s clear that the opioid epidemic is not a problem that we can do away with simply by making arrests,” Detective Sgt. Farina said. “This is a complex problem that requires innovative solutions, and Hope Not Handcuffs-Hudson Valley and its partner agencies are committed to approaching this issue in a new way in order to save lives.”

About Hope Not Handcuffs – Hudson Valley: 

Hope Not Handcuffs – Hudson Valley is an initiative aimed at bringing law enforcement and community organizations together in an effort to find viable treatment options for individuals seeking help to reduce dependency on illicit drugs and alcohol. Through the initiative, partner police departments open their doors to those who are ready to seek treatment and support to overcome opioid addiction, creating a non-arrest pathway to recovery.

About the Rockefeller Institute of Government:

The Rockefeller Institute of Government is the public policy research arm of the State University of New York. The Institute conducts cutting-edge research and analysis to inform lasting solutions to the problems facing New York State and the nation.