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Mayor Spano & Yonkers Police Launch H.E.A.R.T Initiative To Combat Heroin Abuse

Post Date:04/14/2016 3:28 PM

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HEART Presser

YONKERS, NY – April 14, 2016 – Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano and Yonkers Police Commissioner Charles Gardner today announced the launch of H.E.A.R.T, the Heroin Enforcement and Assistance Response Team, as the City’s new heroin abuse prevention initiative. Developed by the Yonkers Police Department (YPD) and working with St. John’s Riverside Hospital, H.E.A.R.T is a comprehensive approach in dealing with the growing heroin abuse epidemic nationwide.

“We’ve all seen the headlines. Heroin use continues to be on the rise across the nation, and Yonkers is not exempt,” said Mayor Spano. “Our Police Department is leading by example with the creation of H.E.A.R.T and tackling not only the aftermath that occurs when one abuses the drug, but providing resources to the community to help prevent the addiction. Heroin abuse does not discriminate against age, class or ethnic backgrounds, so we must address this holistically, across all platforms.”

Through H.E.A.R.T., Yonkers Police will focus on education, prevention, assistance and enforcement.  The team is comprised of Yonkers Police Officers, caseworkers and trained substance abuse counselors who will follow up with heroin abuse suspects who are arrested, those who survive overdoses and the families affected. St. John’s Riverside Hospital is partnering with the YPD by providing the necessary services needed to overcome the devastating addiction, such as detox, rehab and counseling.

“By taking a proactive approach to heroin abuse, particularly in the areas of education, prevention and assistance for the users, we hope to decrease heroin abuse in our community,” said Yonkers Police Commissioner Charles Gardner. “The goal is to get the abusers the help that they need and take all possible steps to defer them from the criminal justice system.   St. John’s Hospital Behavioral Health Services have agreed to partner with us to assist in getting vital services for those in need of treatment and counseling.   The multi-faceted approach to the HEART program is what makes this program special, and our department is fully committed to deploying this new initiative today.”

The Yonkers Police will assist heroin abusers receive treatment for heroin/opioid addiction at St. John’s Riverside Hospital located at 2 Park Avenue through various hospital services:

· New Focus Center/Methadone Maintenance

(Outpatient Rehabilitation Program), 914-964-8000

· Inpatient Detox and Rehabilitation Program (available 24 hours a day), 914-964-7537

· Community Outreach Coordinator, 914-760-7486

“We are eager to raise awareness about the opioid epidemic we are facing in Yonkers and actually throughout the country and we are pleased to be working with the Mayor and the Yonkers Police Department to accomplish this goal” commented Brian Kaley, Vice President of Behavioral Health Services for St. John’s Riverside Hospital.  “It is our mission to help these individuals and families by providing accessible inpatient and outpatient alcohol and substance abuse treatment services in Yonkers and throughout Westchester County.”

Since heroin abuse often is often the result of prescription drug abuse, Yonkers Police also will permanently install prescription drug collection boxes in all four Yonkers Police precincts so unwanted medications can be disposed of safely, 24 hours a day. Additional tactics the YPD will use to combat heroin addiction include presenting at local schools and community groups, producing educational public service announcements and distributing assistance and outreach information brochures to those arrested because of heroin related crimes.

Over the last year, the Yonkers Police has been a leader in tacking heroin abuse in Westchester County. The YPD was one of the first departments in Westchester County to deploy Narcan to officers on the street. The lifesaving drug can be administered on the spot to someone experiencing an otherwise fatal overdose.  To date, Yonkers Police has saved 17 lives using Narcan.

For those who want to report suspicious activity anonymously regarding heroin/opioids, call the Yonkers Police Narcotics Tip Hotline at 914-377-TIPS (8477), 24 hours a day. For more information on Yonkers H.E.A.R.T., contact Yonkers Police Community Affairs at 914-377-7375.

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