2017-03-15 / Schools

Garrison School Board to Hold Special Meeting on Opioid Crisis

Special to the PCNR

The Board of Education of the Garrison Union Free School District will convene a panel of experts at a special meeting on March 28 to discuss district-level strategies for dealing with the opioid crisis sweeping communities across the country.

The panel will include Putnam County Sheriff Donald Smith, District Attorney Robert Tendy as well mental health, substance abuse and drug rehabilitation experts who will describe the scope of the drug problem locally, trends in illegal drug use in the region, warning signs of drug abuse, community resources to help those struggling with substance abuse and what more can be done to combat the scourge.

“This event grew out of our collective shock and sadness over losses we have suffered to date in our community and the desire to do what we can as a board at the school district level to stem the epidemic. We expect the discussion will help inform what we should be doing in the Garrison School and how we can influence relevant programming at our receiving high schools,” said Garrison School Board President Raymond O’Rourke.

The expert panel will include:

-David Gerber -- Administrative Director of Counseling and Shelter Services at St. Christopher’s Inn, a ministry of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement in Garrison that provides shelter and rehabilitation services to men in crisis.

-Michael J. Piazza, Jr. -- Putnam County Commissioner of Mental Health, Social Services and Youth Bureau.

- Donald B. Smith -- Putnam County Sheriff.

-Michelle Stringham -- Director of Outreach for the Walter Hoving Home, a faith-based residential facility serving women struggling with drug addiction, alcoholism, prostitution and other life-controlling problems.

- Robert V. Tendy -- Putnam County District Attorney.

- Michael Williams -- School Counselor at the Garrison School.

- Michael Sellet, Regional Safety Coordinator at Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES, will facilitate the discussion.

The community is encouraged to attend and share their questions, ideas and insights with the panelists and the Board. The meeting begins at 7PM at the Garrison School, 1100 Route 9D in Garrison.

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