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Broome County Executive Candidate Calls For A Long-Term Drug Treatment Facility

By Faith Jessie.
The Broome County Developmental center is set to close this month. Democratic candidate for county executive, Jason Garnar says the center should be converted into a long-term drug treatment facility.

Garnar says the costs to convert the facility would be low, since some at the center are already being treated for drug addiction.

"It's perfectly suited, it could be easily converted into a treatment facility.
What it takes is the will. Right now there is no will to even began talking about that," said Jason Garner (D), Broome County Executive candidate.

According to a state database there are currently 20 treatment beds open in Broome County. None of these facilities are part of long-term treatment programs.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, methadone maintenance treatment, which is used to treat opioid addicts who could not be treated through detox, takes 12 months minimum to be effective.

District Attorney Steven Cornwell tackled the issue of long term treatment with the implementation of Operation Safe. The program that went into effect in February, has paired 34 addicts with long term treatment facilities in other states.

"There was no long term recovery option in here Broome County and people need that...they shouldn't have to be shipped to Florida or California and they certainly shouldn't have to wait weeks to get detoxed," said Garnar.

Garnar criticized County Executive Debbie Preston for not supporting Operation Safe.

"The current County Executive, Deborah Preston must believe we can wait for a long term solution. Instead of developing a competing program that will duplicate services, waste resources, and cause confusion, the county executive should be fully supporting the DA's program," said Garnar.

In a statement a spokesperson for Preston says she has helped bring more treatment beds to the area as well as secure grant money and increase education to fight the heroin epidemic.

Garnar is calling on the county to look into state and local funding, such as the $500 million dollar Upstate Revitalization Initiative prize to make the conversion possible.