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Legislature approves opioid addiction hotline

Mike Desmond/WBFO News

The Erie County Legislature has approved  County Executive Poloncarz' plan to deal with the county's burgeoning death toll for opioid use and addiction.

With one key amendment by the Legislature's Majority Coalition, the $376,000 plan slid through without debate after a lot of committee and off-stage debate earlier.

"This bill is the beginning of recovery for many people in Erie County," said Avi Israel from Save the Michaels of the World.

"We have had a problem now going on since the late '90s. And it is late for my son and a lot of these parents over here, it's late for them."

Israel's son Michael died in 2011 from an overdose. The key element of the county executive's plan is a hotline for people to call for advice or information or potentially to give information to law enforcement.

The amended plan requires Poloncarz to appear before the Health and Human Services Committee in September to report on how the hotline is working.

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.