ERIE COUNTY, N.Y.(WKBW) - Earlier this week President Donald Trump vowed to take a hard line on heroin and opiate addiction in the United State. Many said it didn’t go far enough.
The sticking point for many, even his own party was the president’s apparent reluctance to declare a national emergency.
Late Thursday afternoon the president declared the opioid crisis a national emergency.
The crisis has hit hard in Erie County. The average person to die in Erie County from opioids are white males around the age of 38.
Kyle Hughey a former drug addict after 14 years is now a counselor is now part of a group pushing for funding for “Save The Michaels.” He said this is a group that works when it comes to fighting this epidemic.
“So why not try something different. You know, instead of giving more money to stuff that’s not working . Try giving money to something that’s different,” Hughey said.
Erie County lawmakers are forking over a million dollars to three local organizations(Evergreen, Neighborhood, and International) to immediately work on reducing the number of people dying from using. Hughey said the bigger issue isn’t the drugs, it’s the people who are using them.
“The issue is the person. They need to really work on just changing the person and not like providing them with clean needles and Narcan like that’s just enabling and telling someone that it is okay to keep getting high when really it’s not,” Hughey said.
This topic hits home for Erie County Legislator Lynne Dixon. The Independent lawmaker is the chair for the health and human services committee. She said the challenge is the county has a limited amount of money for this issue.
“I have four kids. Three of them are teenagers. I worry everyday about this. I see it in my community,” Dixon said.