As the opiate addiction problem continues to grow across the country, New York State has spent over $5 million to purchase Naloxone (Narcan) - a life saving drug that can be administered to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
According to the NYS Department of Health, 100,000 community and public safety first responders have been trained to use the drug.
However, some fear too many people view Naloxone as the cure for the opiate epidemic.
"Treatment is important but we are never going to be able to treat our way out of this epidemic," said Dr. Richard Blondell, Vice Chair for Addiction Medicine in the University at Buffalo's Department of Family Medicine.
U.B. is now actively working to set up fellowship programs across the US and Canada to train physicians as addiction specialists.
According to Dr. Blondell, the medical community continues to over-prescribe opiate pain killers which get people, especially young people, addicted. In order to feed their addictions, opiate addicts then turn to heroin to get the same high. Heroin is cheaper than street-bought pain pills, but it is also causing an alarming increase in overdoses and deaths.
Dr. Blondell tells 7 Eyewitness News that physicians attitudes have to change and there needs to be increased use of existing medicine that can block the craving for opiates in addicts. However, Dr. Blondell says politics, money and procedures have become a disincentive for doctors to prescribe them.
On Saturday April 30th, the City of Buffalo is conducting a city-wide collection of old drugs. It is being held at Buffalo State College.