The topic of substance abuse is a front and center in Western New York this week. It’s National Red Ribbon Week, a drug awareness and prevention program.
The ribbons represent the struggle that many face when it comes to substance abuse, and for Erie County, Opioid abuse has been a problem for years.
Erie County’s Opioid Epidemic Task Force started in response to an opioid crisis in the county around 2015. Since then, experts say deaths from opioid overdoses have been on the decline.
“Unfortunately, with addiction, I don’t think we’re ever going to be to a point where we can all just declare victory and be done. It’s going to be about always vigilance, always working on things,” said Matt Smith, representative of the Erie County Opiate Epidemic Task Force.