I am writing in response to the recent meeting in Hudson Falls regarding a proposal for a syringe exchange program to be located in a downtown location.
I went to this meeting hoping to become more informed. I hoped to hear some explanation regarding the program, site choice and also to voice my own opinion. I looked into the issue beforehand and came with information I hoped to share. SEPs are met with opposition often, but are of great benefit to the community, the addict, who it has been proven is more likely to seek rehab if participating in an exchange, and the taxpayer. The fact is, they are a good thing, but no one wants them near their home or business.
Consequently, the meeting was negatively hijacked by Deputy Mayor Robert Cook and did little to promote understanding or allow for reasonable discourse. The Alliance for Positive Health representatives were very professional and ready to participate. They started by noting that they are at the beginning of a project and not at the end. No program is in place to open soon. These are proposals, open for discussion, but the crowd, egged on by Mr. Cook, would have none of it.
Admittedly, people raised very real and just concerns about the location of the program. Unfortunately, as the Alliance folks attempted to provide the answers that the genuinely concerned citizens need, the meeting devolved into shouting and heckling, and they could not continue.
This meeting was a sham organized largely through Facebook posting by groups supposedly dedicated to their community. They failed us last night.
Ronald R. Johnson, Hudson Falls