BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — It's a special event designed to shine a spotlight on the ongoing opioid crisis around the country. At D'Youville College Wednesday evening, black balloons were put up, each representing a victim of a local overdose death.
Their loved ones gathered at the college to honor those lost and discuss ways to prevent future overdose deaths.
Participants at the event said each death has a ripple effect in the community.
"You figure that each person has two parents, four grandparents, they have siblings, they have cousins, they have aunts, uncles. The idea is like a stone rippling across a pond," said Debra Smith of the Erie County Opioid Epidemic Task Force.
Earlier this year, the Erie County Department of Health reported that overdose deaths are declining countywide. In 2018, it's estimated that less than 200 people died of overdoses, compared to 301 in 2016.