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Washington-based addiction advocacy group opens NY branch, seeks local delegates


A Washington DC-based organization that campaigns to improve national policy on addiction has opened a New York State chapter. The woman tapped to chair the state chapter says she's looking for interested candidates to serve at the local level.

The Addiction Policy Forum, in addition to opening its New York chapter, has opened similar offices in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Lorraine McNeill-Popper has been named the New York State chapter chairperson. For her, the opioid crisis is personal. She lost her twin brother to addiction.

"My family suffered in silence and we never talked about it," McNeill Popper said. "But you know, there's power when you share your story. There's power when we all come together in a room and realize we're not alone."

The Addiction Policy Forum, according to McNeill-Popper, has an eight-point strategy with priorities including family outreach, treatment expansion and changing how the criminal justice system takes on addiction.

While the chairperson will be based in New York City, McNeill-Popper says her plan is to recruit a co-chair from every county statewide and then forward materials that will allow the co-chairs to prepare a grassroots strategy that best suits their local community.

"Every community is different," she said. "Every family is different. No one knows the communities better than the people who are living there."

McNeill-Popper encouraged local advocates to contact her at lorraine@addictionpolicy.org.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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