WXXI AM News

opioid epidemic

As of earlier this month, Monroe County has seen an increase in opioid overdoses -- both fatal and non-fatal --compared to this time last year. The work of first responders who arrive at the scene can be the difference between life and death.

A new documentary called "Opioids from Inside: First Responders" explores the epidemic from the perspective of firefighters, EMTs, and paramedics who are on the front lines. The film airs on WXXI-TV on Tuesday, but first, we get a preview with the men and women featured in it. They discuss their work and how the crisis has affected them personally. Our guests:

  • David Marshall, director and co-producer of "Opioids from Inside: First Responders"
  • Lt. John Vagg, Rochester Fire Department
  • Dr. Scott Dent, M.D., family medicine specialist at Rochester Regional Health
  • Krista Lattuca, Rochester resident in recovery, and recovery coach at Rochester Regional Health  

We continue our conversation with Dr. Tim Wiegand from UR Medicine about the opioid crisis. This hour, Dr. Wiegand discusses an opioid prescription "opt-in" program for patients post-surgery. He says that program has led to a significant reduction in opioid prescriptions.

We discuss the impact of the program and the broader opioid crisis. Our guest:

  • Tim Wiegand, M.D., director of toxicology at URMC, and associate director of the UR Medicine Combined Addiction Fellowship Training Program

We check in on the opioid crisis and how the pandemic has impacted it. Harvard’s Julia Marcus has compared the pandemic to the opioid crisis and the AIDS crisis when it comes to harm reduction strategies. We discuss what works and what the experts are learning.

Our guests:

  • Tim Wiegand, M.D., director of toxicology at URMC, and associate director of the UR Medicine Combined Addiction Fellowship Training Program
  • Julie Stampler, harm reductionist and board member of the National Harm Reduction Coalition

Gino Fanelli/CITY Newspaper

Deaths from heroin in Monroe County have shrunk by a wide margin over the past two years, but users are still overdosing at roughly the same rate, according to new data from the county's Heroin Task Force.

Noelle E. C. Evans / WXXI News

The Ibero-American Action League held its annual luncheon on Friday and presented its first State of the Latino community address. 

Ibero’s president Angelica Perez-Delgado says that Ibero’s immediate focus is on improving quality of life for people living in the Northeast corridor of Rochester which has been the scene of an open-air drug market.

Noelle E. C. Evans / WXXI News

Flowers are in bloom in what used to be a vacant lot on Joseph Avenue in Rochester. Those working in the hot sun and soil this summer have been uncovering aspects of Rochester’s opioid epidemic.

Eric Pough works as a landscaper in the Community Bloom garden. Almost 21 years old, Pough spends the days planting, weeding, and mowing the grass.

"I’m glad to be doing something for the community, everything’s going well," Pough says.