Reed Talks Opioid Epidemic With CAER Task Force
While opioid addiction can make people feel hopeless, Rep. Tom Reed wants those battling addiction to know they are not alone.
He and many others are taking up the gauntlet against this epidemic, such as the coalition of individuals and organizations known as the Countywide Alliance for Enforcement and Rehabilitation (CAER) in Chautauqua County. The task force is a multi-disciplinary coalition that tackles the problem of the opioid epidemic from all sides: law enforcement, prevention and education and treatment.
Tom recently met with the group to discuss addressing the opioid epidemic and statistics from across Chautauqua County.
“This epidemic has swept across this area, the state and the country, taking far too many lives and crumbling others into pieces in its wake,” Tom said. “Standing by and doing nothing is not an option - and we are encouraged by the work being done by CAER to combat this epidemic. We care about the people who are impacted by opioid addiction - be it those who are addicted, their friends and family or the community at large. As the members of CAER show, together, we can make an impact.”
The fight against opioid addiction is not a new effort for Tom. He introduced the Help Act to allow federal prosecutors access to more severe penalties when prosecuting certain drug cases, and has also supported increased funding to fight the epidemic. The 2018 Omnibus alone included $4.7 billion for prevention, treatment and law enforcement activities, and the House and Senate recently passed a package of more than 50 bills aimed at fighting the opioid epidemic.
“As our CAER initiative gains momentum, we are happy to have Congressman Reed join us to discuss resources and collaboration with the federal government,” Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello said. “I appreciate his support in addressing the pivotal opioid issue in our county.”
"In 2018 we have begun to turn a corner in Chautauqua County as we are seeing fewer people dying from opioid-related overdoses,” Coalition Director Tom Tarpley said. “This is a direct result of Rep. Reed’s efforts in securing Federal grants for law enforcement operations and treatment providers. Because of Congressman Reed's work, our law enforcement agencies have received critical Federal funding to help cut off the supply of opioids entering our county, and our dedicated treatment providers have more tools in which to provide life-saving treatments. We look forward to continuing to work with Congressman Reed in the years to follow as we focus our collaborative efforts to stop any further loss of life.”
The CAER Task Force includes Chautauqua County Law Enforcement, Chautauqua County District Attorney’s Office, the Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services which includes Social Services and Mental Hygiene, peer support groups and advocacy groups.