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WNY families come together to remember those lost to opioid crisis

"We find comfort in the company of each other"
Posted at 11:28 PM, Mar 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-06 23:28:08-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — March 6th marks National Black Balloon Day. It's a day for many across the United States to remember those who lose their lives to the opioid crisis.

"There is something within us struggling ourselves in order to try to make sense of this very senseless situation," Debra Smith said. She lost her son, Nathaniel, to an opioid overdose.

In Erie County, dozens filled the Second One Ceremonial Courtroom at Old Erie County Hall Friday night to honor the lives lost locally from opioid overdoses.

"We find comfort in the company of each other because we know we understand each other," Smith said.

Since 2016, the Erie County Opiate Epidemic Task Force has tackled the issue through several work groups. Task Force Director, Cheryll Moore, said opioid-related overdose deaths in Erie County have decreased over the last several years. Moore believes it's because of numerous resources available and the community working together to try and end this crisis.

"As long as your child is still alive, there is always hope. As long as they're living and breathing, there is hope," Deborah Palmer said. Her son, Michael, died in 2017 from an opioid overdose.

It's times like earlier this week, when in three days it's suspected seven people lost their lives to opioid overdoses, that those in the community are begging those who need help to seek help. Several adding if you must use, don't be alone and get trained on Narcan.

"What it is you need to to stay alive, until we can figure this out, please just stay alive, please," Smith said.

If you or someone you know needs help, please call the 24/7 Erie County Addiction Hotline at 716-831-7007.