WXXI AM News

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.

 

Monroe County

Opioid overdose deaths in July reached their second-highest monthly total since Monroe County law enforcement agencies started tracking the data at the beginning of 2018.

Seventeen people died of overdoses in July, according to the Monroe County Heroin Task Force, up from a low of four people in April.

Governor Andrew Cuomo's office

  

Calling it an "industrywide conspiracy," Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his intention to file a lawsuit for the overprescription of opioids that he said has defrauded New Yorkers out of billions of dollars. 

Cuomo said his Department of Financial Services is gathering evidence for a lawsuit that he said extends beyond the drugmakers to the drug distributors and pharmacies for what the governor said is systemwide "fraud" that went on for decades.

James Brown WXXI

Monroe County Clerk Adam Bello claims that County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo’s efforts to tackle the opioid epidemic do not meet the scale of the problem. The Democrat, who is challenging Dinolfo, the Republican incumbent this fall, called the epidemic the largest public health crisis to hit Rochester in his lifetime. 

“This is one of the largest public health crisis to hit our community in my lifetime and I think the response from our government needs to be scaled to match that level of emergency,” said Bello.

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

A group of surgeons in upstate New York has adopted new guidelines for prescribing opioids.

The recommendations, developed by a team convened by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, aim to reduce excess supply of the drugs in the midst of an opioid epidemic that killed almost 200 people in Monroe County last year.

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

Monroe County Sheriff's Office

 

Nearly 200 people died from opioid overdoses in Monroe County last year, according to data released Monday by the county medical examiner’s office.

That’s the first decrease since 2015, but it’s still 17 times as many overdose deaths as the county had in 2011, when it first started tracking the data.

Monroe County public health commissioner Michael Mendoza said one of the primary reasons for last year’s decline was likely the prevalence of overdose reversal drugs like naloxone, which is sold under the brand name Narcan.

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