The Erie County Legislature unanimously approved an opioid crisis hotline on Thursday. Many parents who have lost a child to addition were on hand during the vote.
The issue was tabled last week after legislators wanted more time to consider the proposal. The hotline is expected to cost $375,000, and some question spending tax dollars on a program that hasn't been proven to work.
So, part of the legislation includes a hotline review in September to assess the program's progress. Parents like Avi Israel, who lost a son to opioid addiction, were emotional following the vote. “You know, when Michael took his life, we didn't know where to go,” Israel explained. “Nobody told us where to go. This is the beginning of recovery. This will direct people toward treatment.”
It’s unclear when the hotline will be up and running.
Funding for the program is only available this year. That means it the hotline is proven successful, legislators will have to come up with the funds in 2017.