Walking into Thundering Niagara Falls
For the last fourteen days I have been plodding my way across New York State in a somewhat epic effort to help reduce the scourge of drug abuse. I started out, with a lot of fan fare on the Brooklyn Bridge on June 26. Elected officials and members of the business community were good enough to give me a roaring send off. I was particularly pleased that Brooklyn District Attorney Joe Hynes was there. He is the conceptualizer of the DTAP Program, an initiative which offers persons convicted of drug related crimes, who are also abusers, the opportunity to receive needed treatment in lieu of going to prison. Treatment, it seems to me, is paramount in the illegal drug fight. Of course if the abuser does not complete the program they will go to jail. About 60% of those who enter treatment succeed in overcoming their habit.
After crossing the Brooklyn Bridge I visited both the Samaritan Drug Treatment Center in Yonkers and a Daytop Center in Scarsdale both along Central Avenue. At Daytop many young people, literally the future of America, were receiving various stages of care. I was both saddened and heartened that this service was available to these kids who were so much in need. The roar of Niagara Falls spraying refreshing dew in the hot afternoon helped create a true sense of accomplishment. The press has been good to me. I know I created some meaningful awareness to DTAP and the urgent need to look for more creative ways to wipe out the scourge of drug abuse.