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State senate hosts opioid task force hearing

Posted: 12:21 PM, Jul 12, 2017
Updated: 2017-07-12 12:21:08-04

The New York State Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction sourced recovering addicts, treatment representatives and medical professionals for what needs to be done to save lives in Western New York.

"This is just a growing problem that we need support on," says Anne Constantino, President and CEO of Horizon Health, an organization that provides addiction treatment.

Some panelists included Gale Burstein, the commissioner of the Erie County Department of Health, Lieutenant Daniel Rinaldo of the Buffalo Police Department and Dennis Galluzzo, Executive Director of the Pharmacists' Association of Western New York.

Panelists mentioned some of the biggest problems in combating opioid and heroin addiction are the lack of funding for treatment, long waiting lists for inpatient care and opioid over-prescription.

Both members of the task force and panelists agreed that part of the solution in reducing overdose deaths could be doctors prescribing less narcotic painkillers. Painkillers are often the gateway to addiction, so if the dosage is limited and controlled, hopefully addiction numbers and subsequent deaths would drop.