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Service providers awarded funding to fight opioid epidemic

Chris Caya WBFO News

More local agencies will be receiving funding to help fight the opioid epidemic.

The Erie County Legislature approved the final piece of the Poloncarz Administration's funding plan for service providers during a special session late Friday afternoon. Under the plan $500,000 has been awarded to Evergreen Health Services, Neighborhood Community Services and the International Institute  for medication assisted treatment programs. Legislature Majority Leader Joseph Lorigo says, he was never opposed to spending the money - which is coming out of the fund balance.

"I've always been looking at if we're spending it wisely and asking questions and finding out what we're going to do," Lorigo said.

Credit Chris Caya WBFO News
Legislature Majority Leader Joseph Lorigo

The legislature held a round table discussion with providers and advocates to learn about opioid addiction response programs August 10. Lorigo says hopefully the new programs being funded can save lives.
"What we've been doing so far hasn't had the impact that anybody would like. And that's why I wanted to go to the private sector and see what they could do. So I'm hopeful and optimistic that this investment will have a greater impact than so far what the government's been doing. But only time will tell," Lorigo said.  

He says the legislature will continually evaluate the program and look for possibly different ways to combat the opioid epidemic when the budget process gets underway in October.