Opioid Crisis

WXXI, in partnership with public broadcasting stations across New York state, will air special programming examining the opioid crisis during the week of Oct. 15.

New York’s Opioid Crisis is a first-of-its-kind partnership to draw attention to this public health crisis and raise awareness of services available in local communities for those affected by opioid addiction.

Support for opioid crisis programming on WXXI is provided in part by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. A complete list of programs can be found here: WXXI.org/opioid-prog.

We want to hear what you have to say about opioid and heroin use in our community. Please click on this link to take a short survey.


U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

Congressman Tom Reed, R-Corning, has re-introduced a bill that toughens penalties for people convicted of trafficking fentanyl, a synthetic opioid.

Reed wants traffickers to face the death penalty when the drugs they sell kill a user. He re-introduced a bill that adds the options of capital punishment and life imprisonment to existing drug laws.

Becky Baker and Kelsey Hansen / Substance Overdose Awareness Recovery Services

As the number of lives lost to opioids continues to grow in the Rochester area, a new support group has formed to reach out to young adults who have lost friends and loved ones.

Becky Baker, who helped organize the group, said an all-ages grief group that formed last summer has been so popular that it’s outgrown successive meeting places from an Irondequoit garage to a church.

But, Baker said, the group has lacked a space devoted to the needs and experiences of young adults.

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.


Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren is asking City Council to authorize a lawsuit against opioid manufacturers and distributors.

The proposal would see the city’s attorney work with  a New York City based law firm, Napoli Shkolnik PLLC, to represent the city.

It would not cost Rochester money out-of-pocket, and if the city were to be successful in its suit, the New York City law firm would not get more than 25% of whatever money is collected from the opioid industry.

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.

Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

Over 1,000 overdoses have been reported in the last year in Monroe County. That’s according to the Monroe County Heroin Task Force, at their one-year progress report Tuesday morning.

In the first year of the task force, ranging from February 1st 2018 to January 25th of this year, 159 of the 1,101 overdoses have been fatal.

Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter says the focus of the first year was to educate the community, cordon off the problem, do intense enforcement and secure recovery partners