WXXI AM News

addiction

According to data from the Monroe County Heroin Task Force, the number of deaths from opioid overdoses in Monroe County dropped to the lowest point in April, since tracking began. But since then, there's been a spike in the number of fatal overdoses.

A local nonprofit called ROCovery Fitness is expanding to meet the needs of people throughout Monroe County and the Southern Tier who are struggling with different kinds of addiction. We sit down with ROCovery’s co-founder to discuss how the organization’s programs are growing, and we hear stories of recovery from two of its members. In studio:

  • Yana Khashper, co-founder of ROCovery Fitness who is living in recovery
  • Monica Starr, member of ROCovery Fitness who is living in recovery
  • Emily Balch, member of ROCovery Fitness who is living in recovery
  • Sara Ormsby, therapist

  

Robert Veeder is an addiction counselor who plans to spend the rest of his life trying to make up for a tragic mistake. Veeder was driving drunk in 2003 when he crashed into the scene of a previous accident. He killed six people, and spent more than eight years in prison.

Now Veeder focuses on helping others through addiction and into recovery. He is direct about the need to be accountable, and to find hope where there seems to be none. He sits down with us to discuss his journey and his blog, The Prison Sketches.

According to new data, the number of deaths from opioid overdoses in Monroe County decreased for the first time since 2015. Nearly 200 people died from overdoses in 2018. Monroe County Public Health Commissioner Michael Mendoza says the use of overdose reversal drugs like naloxone is a primary reason for the decline, but he also says long-term solutions are needed to combat the epidemic.

Several Democratic presidential candidates have released their plans for addressing the crisis. This hour, we explore the state of the opioid epidemic both at the local and national levels, and our guests discuss if they think the proposed policies could be effective. In studio:

  • Dr. Michael Mendoza, M.D., Monroe County Public Health Commissioner
  • Dr. Michael Apostolakos, M.D., chief medical officer for the University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Laura Garrison, vice president for development WXXI and The Little Theatre, who has experienced long-term chronic pain

We're joined by Dr. Rahul Gupta, former public health commissioner for West Virginia, for a conversation about the state of the opioid crisis in America. West Virginia has the highest age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths involving opioids, and during his time as health commissioner, Gupta led a series of initiatives to try to combat the crisis. He's now the chief medical and health officer for the March of Dimes.

Gupta is in Rochester for a presentation at the Rochester Museum and Science Center, but first, he joins us on Connections to discuss addiction, and how he thinks the medical system should change to help alleviate the opioid crisis. In studio:

WATCH: How one woman and her organization is giving second chances

May 12, 2019

It’s not easy for those impacted by substance abuse and the criminal justice system to find a new footing rooted in resilience. But one Rochester woman is on a mission to make it possible. We learn why some say she and the Samaritan Center of Excellence is changing our community one second chance at a time. 

It’s not easy for those impacted by substance abuse and the criminal justice system to find a new footing rooted in resilience. But one Rochester woman is on a mission to make it possible. We learn why some say she’s changing our community one second chance at a time.

Also on the show, storytelling is one of those unique tools that has the ability to connect all people. And stories about moms, step-moms, grandmas, and other mother figures can be especially powerful and transformative. Find out what it really means to “Listen to Your Mother.”

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

"There’s panic," Marty Teller said, sitting in a conference room in the executive offices of the Finger Lakes Area Counseling and Recovery Agency. "What you’re really seeing is, the epidemic is rising."

For five rural counties around the Finger Lakes, FLACRA is the only provider of certain state-sanctioned treatments for opioid use disorder. On a per capita basis, those counties have some of the highest death rates due to opioid overdose in New York state.

Monroe County Sheriff's Office

The Monroe County jail will launch a new treatment program for people with drug addictions, County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo and Sheriff Todd Baxter announced Wednesday.

The program will offer addiction treatment services for people who are held with pending charges at the county jail in downtown Rochester. Dinolfo said it will be the first of its kind in New York state.

Other addiction treatment options are already available for inmates who have been sentenced, but the county is now expanding some of those services to people still awaiting a court hearing or a sentence.

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

 

More than a half-million dollars in federal grant money is on its way to the Rochester area to help fight the opioid epidemic, New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said Friday.

The money is focused on workforce development, which Hochul said the state is approaching from two angles.

The first is to help people in recovery from addiction find stable jobs. Hochul said that’s necessary to keep people feeling fulfilled and working toward a drug-free goal.

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

Even as the number of treatment options for opioid and other substance addictions has increased in Monroe County in recent months, medical officials are concerned that the people who need those treatments don’t know what’s available.

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