Mitrano addresses stance on drugs after news surfaces of past use

Tracy Mitrano

Democratic candidate Tracy Mitrano emerged victorious among her Democratic contenders in the 23rd Congressional District Democratic primary last month. But with her victory, news about her past drug use surfaced on multiple news sites.

Mitrano previously contributed to a blog site, Inside Higher Ed, from July 2010 through September 2017. In those blog posts she referenced past experimentation with marijuana and cocaine.

While not denying her drug use, almost 40 years ago, she said the posts were taken out of context on various news sites calling the reporting a “cut and paste” job that she attributed to a right wing Republican party attack against her.

Mitrano’s upcoming opponent in the November election, Rep. Tom Reed, issued a brief statement regarding the matter.

“These are clearly concerning revelations,” said Abbey Daugherty, communications director for Tom Reed for Congress.

In response, Mitrano did not deny her admission of past drug experimentation, but noted that the original blog posts further explained her experience and how it shaped her stance on drugs.

“I would encourage anyone to read the public blog posting,” Mitrano said in an interview.

She reiterated what her blogs posts said in 2014 and 2016 in which she described drug related experiences that would later shape her beliefs. As to if Mitrano’s experiences continue to impact her views on drugs she simply said, “absolutely.”

The Democratic candidate has come to deplore drug trafficking as a result of her experiences. A major concern of Mitrano’s is that of the opioid crisis.

“The corruption drugs have brought to our society is very sad and is a challenging aspect of our community,” she said.

Mitrano called out big pharmaceutical companies for propagating the drug crisis. While President Donald Trump has declared the crisis a national emergency, Mitrano believes more can be done.“(Pharmaceutical companies) have been peddling those drugs since the mid 1990s,” she said. “Over 200 thousand people have died from an overdose in that time.”

To combat the issue, Mitrano said there needs to be more funding and more appropriate law enforcement in place. An emphasis of the Reed’s opponent was to fund addiction centers for the inflicted by opioids.

“As a result of my experiences, I am highly against organized crime and highly critical of the pharmaceutical companies that have propagated (the opioid crisis),” Mitrano said.

“It’s a crisis we have not adequately addressed,” she continued.

Another drug related issue Mitrano addressed was that of the push for the legalization of marijuana. In New York state, marijuana is currently legalized for medical use, but remains illegal for recreational use. Mitrano, who admitted to use in the aforementioned blog posts, said she supported its legalization on the federal and state level.

“It would be better to bring the widespread use of cannabis out into the open in a way the government can regulate and better serve as a public health measure in that posture rather than maintaining in an illegal one,” she said.

She cited a number of other states who legalized cannabis as a precedent for New York state to follow.

Last month, the 23rd Congressional District Democratic primary election results were too close to call between Mitrano and candidate Max Della Pia on election night. The close contest caused an extended week of suspension for the official results to be realized. Della Pia held a lead on election night of 7,022 votes to Mitrano’s 6,996. However, on July 3, Della Pia conceded the primary race to Mitrano after knowledge of the absentee ballot counts were circulating. Then, Della Pia and Mitrano called for unity in the Democratic party in order to defeat Reed in the fall.

The general election will be held on Nov. 6.