Two young Pennsylvania residents were arrested on Wednesday after state troopers caught them doing heroin in a Jeffersonville parking lot, according to a police news release.
The pair -- 19-year-old Andrew Ott of Equinunk and 20-year-old Chelsey Metz of Beach Lake -- were charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminally using drug paraphernalia, and criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument. They were both arraigned in Liberty town court and remanded to the Sullivan County Jail, in lieu of $3,500 cash bail. Both are scheduled to appear in Callicoon town court on April 1.
The image of heroin as an urban problem is eroding in upstate New York, as the drug makes new inroads into even the tiniest towns and villages; Jeffersonville, a village of just over 350 people, is about as rural as it gets. Many locals involved in healthcare, social services and law enforcement believe that heroin use is a growing epidemic in the rural Catskills.
Earlier this month, Liberty resident Terry Bauer appeared before her town board to plead for support for Narcotics Anonymous and other intervention and recovery programs in Sullivan County. According to a recent story in the River Reporter, Bauer told the Liberty town board that she is currently housing a friend undergoing heroin withdrawal who has been turned away from several local hospitals because there was no bed space for him there. From the article:
“Heroin has made a tremendous resurgence,” said Bauer. “It’s killing our children and destroying our families.”
“So many individuals living in Livingston Manor, Callicoon and Jeffersonville are homeless, have no transportation, and have no ability to get to crisis and outreach centers,” continued Bauer. “This drug is a monster.”
Bauer reported that she has met with several individuals in the county looking for information and resources. “I believe we need to have an open discussion on how to create an outreach program and create more accessible NA meetings, and help those suffering find a way to get to them. We also need to have a discussion on how to reduce the amount of heroin getting onto our streets.”
To make matters worse, Bauer told the board, the Recovery Center in Monticello has temporarily suspended new admissions.