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Inside the call center that's working to end the opioid epidemic

Posted at 5:41 PM, Jan 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-16 18:04:14-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Imagine helping someone through one of the worst days of their life? At the Crisis Services center, they could do that multiple times a day.

Operators standby a 24/7 telephone line waiting to answer the call of anyone battling with drug or alcohol addiction or family members struggling with addiction. And it's working.

According to the Erie County department of health, the number of fatal opioid overdoses has been declining for the past three years. Employees at Crisis Services feel like they have played an important part in this decline.

"A couple years ago there wasn’t a hot line or a resource that folks could call to just get that information on what do I do this is happening to my son or daughter," hot line director, Rachel Morrison, said.

The operators answer about 2000 calls a year. That's about 40 a week.

In 2016 there were 301 overdoses, but in 2018 there are only 132. That could be higher since the final tally hasn't been counted; however, the Erie County commissioner of health believes that number will be below 200.

The number of calls Crisis Services recies a day spikes when there's news of a high number of overdoses, or something of that nature, occurring in a short period of time.

"Something is happening in the community that will spike these calls," Morrison, said.

For example, when nine people overdoses at the beginning of 2019 in Erie County, Crisis Services had a lot more calls.

The opioid epidemic is far from over, but Crisis Services will continue its battle one phone call at a time.

If you or someone you know needs help call (716) 831-7007. You can also go to their website by clicking this link.