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State Sen. Patty Ritchie. NCPR file photo
State Sen. Patty Ritchie. NCPR file photo

Heroin fears: Plattsburgh, Watertown hold public forums

A new state Senate task force on heroin addiction and other drugs derived from opium will hold public forums today in Plattsburgh and Watertown. The task force was formed following a surge in heroin use and deadly overdoses statewide.

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Brian Mann
Adirondack Bureau Chief

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After decades on the back burner behind more high-profile drugs like crack cocaine and crystal meth, the group of illegal drugs known as opioids has moved into the headlines. State Senator Patty Ritchie described the "surge in heroin use" in rural New York and upstate cities as "alarming."

A federal survey released in 2012 found that the number of people using heroin had roughly doubled nationwide over a five year period. Prescription drugs made from opium and sold illegally have also grown in popularity.

Senator Ritchie will lead a panel discussion at 1 o'clock this afternoon in the Dulles State office building in Watertown (details of the planned forum).

State Sen. Betty Little. Photo: Mark Kurtz
State Sen. Betty Little. Photo: Mark Kurtz
At ten o'clock this morning, state Senator Betty Little will host a hearing at the Clinton County Government Center on Margaret Street in Plattsburgh. Both sessions will include testimony from county prosecutors and police, as well as drug treatment experts and people recovering from drug addiction.

Those wanting to testify at the public forums need to preregister with Sen. Little or Sen. Ritchie before today's sessions begin.

Brian Mann will have a full report on the public forum in Plattsburgh, Monday on Morning Edition and the 8 O'clock Hour and at NCPR.org.

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