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.

 

Office of the New York State Comptroller

Opioid treatment programs in New York have not been using a state database that tracks opioid prescriptions, according to an audit from the state comptroller’s office released Monday.

New York’s I-Stop system is designed to reduce overprescription of controlled substances. It requires prescribers to record when they give a patient opioids, and it allows doctors treating people with opioid use disorder to check the database and make sure they’re not already getting the addictive drugs somewhere else.

Monroe County Heroin Task Force

Monroe County’s total overdoses for the year have surged past 1,000 in the last few days, topping last year’s numbers by more than 250 with six weeks still left in the year.

Those statistics, based on unofficial data from the sheriff’s department and the medical examiner’s office and shared at a meeting of the county’s heroin task force, paint a bleak picture of the epidemic’s toll, said Deputy Mike Favata.

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

Residents along North Clinton Avenue joined with others from around Rochester on Tuesday evening to say “no more” to the heroin epidemic they said is concentrated in the blocks around St. Michael’s church.

Demonstrators stood side-by-side down two-and-a-half blocks of North Clinton Avenue, from Clifford Avenue to Hoeltzler Street, aiming to disrupt the drug sales they say happen there daily.

It was planned as a silent protest, but occasional chants of “No más!” broke out along the line of demonstrators.

Drug Enforcement Administration

October saw the most opioid overdoses in Monroe County since the sheriff’s heroin task force started keeping track in January.

It was also the second-most-deadly month for people who overdosed, with 17 fatalities in the county, the sheriff’s data showed.

The oldest overdose victim was 65, according to the county’s data. The youngest was 17. There were 116 overdoses total.

“I cried. I just cried,” said Becky Baker, describing her reaction when she saw the latest data.

Baker shares her phone number with people addicted to opioids and their families. She tells them to call if they want help finding a slot in a treatment program.

Now, she says, she gets as many calls about deaths as she does about treatment.

“My phone has not stopped. The funerals keep coming,” Baker said. “I keep getting messages that ‘did you know so-and-so-has lost their life?’ It’s gut-wrenching. It’s heart-breaking. Our grief group keeps growing and growing.”

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