Opioid Task Force Holds Hearings in Buffalo

Hearings to assess current state of drug and addiction epidemic

Mike Baggerman
July 12, 2017 - 2:34 pm

WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) – Members of the New York State Opioid Task Force hosted a hearing on the opioid, heroin, and addiction epidemic at Erie Community College’s City Campus on Wednesday morning.

State Senator Chris Jacobs led the meetings and explained the purpose of these hearings are to assess the current state of the epidemic and understand what legislators can do to fight it.

“This is an unprecedented battle we have in terms of this epidemic nationally and New York State,” Jacobs said.

Health care professionals, recovering addicts, family members of addicts, and others who are impacted in some way by the epidemic spoke to the panel to provide suggestions and answer questions the task force had.

“I think we’ve made some majors gains (in the fight),” he said. “But this is also a moving target. Things are changing. The type we’re dealing with is the increase in fentanyl. Most people aren’t really dying from heroin now, it’s fentanyl that they’re dealt. We have to be ever-vigilant on this but I think we’re making major strides.”

He said the state has allocated over $200 million in the budget to combat the epidemic.

Anne Constantino, President and CEO of the Horizon Corporations, was one of those who spoke at the hearings. She said that the public needs to keep discussing the epidemic because there hasn’t been a decline in deaths.

“The prescription drug problem, while nationally we are seeing some improvements, locally, Niagara County is remaining at a high prescriber,” she said. “There’s a lot of powerful, illegal drugs. It’s a great opportunity for the drug dealers. There’s a lot of demand and they have a lot of supply.”

She said the entire medical system is unable to meet the needs of the addicts and hopes money can be invested towards prevention of the epidemic.

LISTEN: State Senator Chris Jacobs on Wednesday's Opioid Task Force hearings




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