Niagara county leaders discuss opioid epidemic

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LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB)- Acting U.S. Attorney James Kennedy, Jr. joined Niagara County Legislators, Niagara County Sheriff James Voutour, and the DEA in announcing the upcoming National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

October 28 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. law enforcement from around the area will be available to collect unwanted prescription pills.

MORE | Click here to find a collection site near you 

Sheriff Voutour pointed out that the county’s opioid-related overdose numbers are on the rise from last year.

In 2016 the county had 280 reported overdoes, 14 of which were fatal. So far in 2017 there have been 283 reported overdoses, 26 of which have been fatal.

“It’s no secret that grand-kids steal from their grandparents. They go in their medicine kits, they take prescription drugs, either sell them or use them,” he said.

The goal of Saturday’s 14th annual event is cut out a popular supply chain, especially for young people.

Local leaders also discussed the growing need for additional resources in the fight against opioid deaths.

“I think it’s really well documented that we need additional resources especially in the area of treatment, especially for younger people,” said Kennedy.

In-patient and out-patient recovery centers in Niagara County have expanded capacity, but legislators said not by enough.

Two in-patient centers went from 20 to 22 beds, but legislators told the media the goal is to reach a 30 bed capacity.

In Erie County, opioid related deaths have consistently been rising since 2012.

In 2016 there were 301 opioid-related deaths. So far in 2017 there have been 165 confirmed deaths and 115 pending cases.

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