Garber was sponsored for membership by past president Robert Weston, and he was inducted into the club by President Zach Merry. Garber is a retired teacher from the Fulton School District.
Oakes discussed the current heroin and opioid epidemic in Oswego County, and how his office is addressing it. The county’s Drug Treatment Court Program, Oakes said, is trying to give addicts charged with non-violent offenses the opportunity to be diverted into a substance abuse treatment program. This gives the defendant the opportunity to address their drug and alcohol issues, stay out of prison, and have their felony charges reduced to misdemeanors. The completion rate for this program is approximately fifty percent. By offering treatment and rehabilitation, defendants receive the opportunity to become law-abiding, tax paying citizens, instead of taking up jail or prison space.
Oakes also said that Oswego County is one of only three jurisdictions in the state selected to participant in a four-year federal grant through the Bureau of Justice Assistance to start an Opiate Court. The Opiate Court will allow immediate screening of jail prisoners to determine if they have an opiate/heroin issue. They will be offered the option of immediate treatment, which includes Mediation Addiction Treatment. This, as with the Drug Treatment Court Program, frees up space in the Oswego County Jail. The Opiate Court, Oakes explained, is designed as a safety and stabilization court, with a focus on treatment and other services.
The Fulton Lions Club provides financial assistance for those in need of eyeglasses, eye exams, and hearing aids to residents in the Greater Fulton area. For more information, visit www.fultonlionsclub.com, or find them on Facebook under Fulton, NY Lions.