BINGHAMTON, NY – A local advocate for reforming laws and policies surrounding substance use disorder pulled no punches during remote testimony before an Assembly hearing held yesterday.
Truth Pharm founder and Executive Director Alexis Pleus gave testimony over a web link about how the COVID pandemic has affected those battling addiction.
Pleus delivered a blistering critique of the state’s laws and rules impacting substance use and recovery.
She called for an overdose tracking system, safe injection sites and the legalization of drugs and drug paraphernalia.
Pleus says that since the CDC declared the opioid epidemic in 2011, overdoses have continued to skyrocket, doubling between the years 2013 and 2016.
She says the Black community has been hit hardest with an 18 fold increase in OD’s from 2013 to 17.
“Despite these startling numbers and the exploding death rate, we have not begun to address the overdose epidemic with any sense of vigor or urgency which is so frustrating to watch and experience and grieve daily,” says Pleus.
Pleus reserved her harshest criticism for the state Office of Addictions Services and Supports or OASAS saying the treatment system in New York is rigid, incompetent and ineffective.