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Communities looking for solutions to opioid epidemic

WBFO News File Photo

Across Erie County, local governments and activists are convening town meetings to talk about drug problems. New figures project 570 fatal drug overdoses will occur this year in the county.

On Wednesday, a town hall-type meeting will be held at Kenmore West High School. One of the key topics will involve problems involving opioid addiction.

Activist Avi Israel, who lost his son to a drug overdose, shared a recent story. He was called out of a Passover seder by a friend who had just learned of losing a loved one to a drug overdose.

"Her brother was prescribed opiates for a back condition and for the past five years has been taking them and this time, he took one too many. And, he was found in his car at three o'clock in the morning," recalled Israel, who says that federal authorities are now telling doctors to write prescriptions for much smaller numbers of opioids, for much shorter time periods.

This development comes during a week when a local doctor was arrested on federal charges for writing far too many opioid prescriptions, many without any apparent, valid reason.

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.
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