Operation SAFE gets treatment for addicts

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Broome County District Attorney Steve Cornwell has announced details of a new initiative aimed at getting addicts into treatment.

Cornwell, alongside Cooperstown Police Chief Mike Colvert, introduced the Operation SAFE project, which stands for Save Addicts From Epidemic.

Drug users seeking help can call the DA’s office and a volunteer will search through a network of treatment facilities, typically located out of state, where beds are available.

Once one is found, the addict is transported at little or no cost to the family.

The program was started in Cooperstown by Colvert and he said many people from our area were calling for help.

Cornwell said that instead of waiting for something to be done, he’s taking the initiative to help solve the drug epidemic.

“There aren’t enough beds in Broome County. I feel like nothing has been done. We’ve waited long enough and I won’t wait any longer. If they don’t have the beds here in Broome County, then we’ll find somewhere else to take care of the problem. If that means sending people out of state to open beds, that’s what we’ll do,” said Cornwell.

The program is funded through donations and money in the P.A.A.R.I program, which is a national initiative that links addicts with volunteers that will take them in or help them get treatment.    

Down the road, Cornwell said he will use asset forfeitures and other channels within the DA’s office to help fund the program.

Families and addicts seeking immediate help can contact the hotline at (607) 778-6119.

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