Buffalo grassroots effort cited for being the most effective in dealing with the opioid crisis

Posted at 6:58 PM, Oct 27, 2017

As the country continues to deal with an opioid crisis that is taking lives, a local grassroots organization has been cited by New York State for being the most effective in the state.

"Save the Michaels of the World" was started by Julie and Avi Israel in 2011 after their own son became addicted to prescription pain killers and then took his own life.

Using only a small staff and several volunteers, "Save the Michaels" has focused on helping families - offering support to parents who have lost a child and actively searching out treatment for families dealing with an addicted loved-one.

The group also works to train people to be effective recovery coaches - and it is seeing results.  Since the end of May 2017, "Save the Michaels" has worked with 67 families with only 4 cases of relapse.  Relapse rates across the nation average around 50% within a few weeks.

Demand for "Save the Michaels" help is so great, the non-profit organization had to recently move to larger quarters at 737 Delaware Avenue. 

Avi Israel, president and founder, said his organization's success offers hope for other families struggling with the disease of addiction.

The New York State Office of Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) recently awarded the Israel's the 2017 Commissioner's Award for their efforts.

7 Eyewitness news Reporter Ed Reilly takes a closer look at "Save the Michaels of the World" and its 3rd annual "Miles for Michael" run/walk scheduled for Saturday morning in Delaware Park.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. with the run/walk staring at 10 a.m.