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Hundreds Fill Legislative Chambers For Public Hearing On Drug Treatment Center

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Broome County Executive Jason Garnar held a public hearing at the County Office Building Tuesday night regarding state funding for the Drug Treatment Center at Broome Developmental.

Legislative Chambers were at maximum capacity, with over 100 people throwing their support behind Garnar and speaking out in favor of the treatment facility.

This hearing comes just four days after Legislative Chairman Dan Reynolds released a statement that the legislature was not able to review the project, claiming they need more information from the County Executive.

For many, they feel like time is running out.

“How many lives do we need to lose to make them understand that this epidemic is affecting the whole nation? We have an opportunity to make a difference right here in our backyard. I would like them to sit with a parent or a grandparent, and listen to how their heart breaks every time their child is suffering.” - Amy Cruz, Truth Pharm

Out of the fourteen county legislators, only four were in present. No Republican legislators were in attendance. Their empty chairs sent a message to those in favor of the treatment facility.

“I wonder about the empty chair people, if a member of their family was in the same position, would they be voting this down, or moving it forward?” - Broome County Sheriff David Harder

Harder spoke about the drug epidemic in the area, and how the Sheriff’s Office has transported more drug users to rehab centers this year than ever before.

“In 2016, in the month of March till the end of the year, we did 92 transports. In 2017, from January to this present time, we’ve done 102.”

The treatment facility would cost the state $3 million, and Garnar says he has submitted a resolution to the legislature to accept that funding, in hopes that it will be addressed in January.

Before the start of the public hearing, dozens of community leaders and family members rallied outside of the County Office Building, urging Republican legislators to take action.

Those who’ve lost loved ones to drug abuse told their stories and spoke in favor of the Drug Treatment Center.

They hope their opinions resonate with county Republicans so that the center can be opened and save lives in Broome County.

Fox40 reached out to Reynolds for comment, but did not hear back.