The county introduced a new program Wednesday that they hope will combat the growing opioid and heroin epidemic plaguing Westchester.
Westchester has experienced a 200 percent increase in opioid fatalities from 2010 – 2015.
Project WORTHY will utilize people in medicine, law enforcement, parents, teachers, coaches and youth to provide expertise in response to specific calls for help. Informational forums will also be held at schools, churches, temples, mosques, municipal meetings, civic associations, businesses and other groups.
“Westchester County, like communities all across the country, is facing a lethal enemy that grows deadlier by the day,” said Astorino. “Whether you live in a city, town, village or hamlet, in the northernmost stretches of the county, the Sound Shore or along the Hudson River, the opioid epidemic affects all of us. The work ahead will be tough because the enemy is strong. But working together, we can and will make a difference. Opioid addiction can be stopped. We will continue to fight, and Project WORTHY can make us more effective.”
The program operates from four foundational blocks: education, integration, prevention and action – and marshals the resources necessary for each of those areas.
Barbara, a 47-year-old housepainter from Montrose, shared her story of getting hooked on drugs because of chronic back pain at the press conference. She discussed how it nearly took her life, and how it was only after getting arrested and going through a court diversion program that she was able to get the proper treatment.
“It was the court-system that put the thumb down on me so that I could be accountable,” she said.
For more information on Project WORTHY, contact 914-995-5220 or email projectWORTHY@westchestergov.com.