State Assembly hopeful outlines heroin & opioid legislative agenda

“As a judge, I’ve seen this tragic heroin epidemic rip through our communities, fracture families and take too many young lives. But, I’ve also seen how second chances have given many of our neighbors and their families a new and meaningful life.”

Angelo Morinello, candidate for state Assembly and former Niagara Falls City Court Judge, today threw his support behind a plan that addresses many issues in the heroin and opioid crisis. The plan has been hailed by many in the treatment and recovery community as the most comprehensive and thoughtful plan to help those struggling with this disease and addiction.

Morinello has made the case that the package of bills passed by the state Legislature in June, 2016 was a very small and incomplete step. Morinello acknowledges that this epidemic cannot be adequately or satisfactorily addressed unless four core areas are discussed at the same time: education and prevention, treatment, recovery and law enforcement.

“Looking into the eyes of an addict, someone in recovery or a family member who has lost a loved one is very powerful and emotional for me personally,” said Morinello. “As a judge, I’ve had to look into the eyes of many who fit that description. I’ve had to make tough but fair choices to put people behind bars who are dealing this deadly drug throughout our streets.

“As a community, we must embrace solutions to this problem. I have the unquestionable experience of working with many different partners and resources locally to find these solutions that can and will help those struggling. We must be stern, but compassionate. We must make tough choices, but foster hope. While our friends mourn, we must also help them heal.

“I’m committed to fighting this epidemic in the state Assembly and believe I am the candidate who has the energy, vision and understanding to do so.”

Morinello outlined some of the main points in the proposal he supports:

Education and Prevention

· Requiring schools to provide drug education as early as 3rd grade;

· Developing prescription guidelines for health care professionals regarding opioid medication;

· Requiring continuing medical education regarding prescriptions and signs of addiction; and

· Additional funding for youth and family service facilities and programs.


· Enforce and strengthen prohibitions on insurers establishing a blanket “fail first” requirement. Morinello believes this often leads to too late of an intervention and he has seen firsthand how critical it is to get in front of this;

· Requiring a mandatory 72-hour hold by hospitals for anyone who has been administered naloxone; and

· Help for families. Morinello supports the development of a civil process to allow families to petition the court to order severely addicted persons into outpatient or inpatient treatment.


Recovery and Rehabilitation

· Work with insurance companies to open up more beds and allow for greater insurance coverage. Morinello believes it should be on a doctor’s terms – not the insurance company’s – that determines how long a loved one needs to get the treatment they deserve.

Law Enforcement

· Prohibit multiple-offending drug dealers from participating in the state’s judicial diversion program, mandating imprisonment instead;

· Death-by-Dealer statute to hold heroin dealers criminally responsible for the deaths they cause;

· While dangerous dealers and users are in prison, Albany should explore providing funding to allow correctional facilities to have a wing dedicated to the detox and rehabilitation of inmates with the hope of lowering the rate of recidivism; and

· Law enforcement agencies should be provided the resources to train their personnel to administer naloxone and have a kit available at all times.

“We need and deserve someone in Albany who isn’t distracted or preoccupied and has the mental focus to be able to thoughtfully advocate for us on this issue. I believe my experiences and unique partnerships in the community will allow me to fight for solutions in a more meaningful way,” Morinello concluded.

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