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Schumer bill looks to combat drug epidemic

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

Senator Charles Schumer says Congress can reverse the skyrocketing rate of fatal drug overdoses by providing an infusion of funding.

Schumer discussed his forthcoming Senate bill during a Thursday visit to Horizons Health. It calls for the appropriation of  $600 million for both treatment and law enforcement.

"We in Erie County have lost over 400 lives to overdoses since 2014, 400 lives," said Horizons Health President and CEO Anne Constantino. She was flanked during the press conference by parents who had lost children to overdoses.

"Average age 38. Youngest aged 17. In 2016, as the senator mentioned, we lost 23 lives in ten days. It's shocking, sad and devastating."

Schumer says senators recognize the problem because they see it themselves. He's not sure about the House but representatives are also seeing the health emergency and the cash would start flowing immediately after the president signs the bill and he will and millions will come to Western New York for treatment and for police.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.