BUFFALO, N.Y. -- New numbers show the opioid crisis isn't improving in Erie County. So far, there are 18 confirmed opioid deaths this year in the county, and 83 suspected deaths. This puts us on pace to exceed the confirmed deaths last year by more than one-hundred.
Clergy from all over Western New York went to a workshop Tuesday at the Newman Center at the University at Buffalo to talk about how to solve this crisis.
2 On Your Side’s Kelly Dudzik spoke with the organizers.
"What questions did they have that they wanted answered today?" asked Dudzik.
"They want to know specifically how can they help people handle the spiritual component of addiction," says Rev. Janet Hubbard with the United Methodist Church.
"What advice do you have for somebody who is watching tonight who maybe is struggling themselves or has a family member or a friend and they just don't know what to do?" asked Dudzik.
"I would tell them, first of all, don't give up hope. There is always hope," says Hubbard. "We share a message of hope, so please come walk in the door, you know, we deal in hope."
"Do you think enough is being done?" Do you think the government's doing enough? Do you think the faith-based groups are doing enough?" asked Dudzik.
"Certainly the faith-based group, we're becoming more aware of how we might help and how we might reach out to the community. And certainly in our government public policies, I think there can be more to try to address the issue of drugs coming into the community and of over prescription of drugs," says Frank Bartscheck with the Samaritan Counseling Center.
"I really think that everybody, including myself, came away from today energized to go and do something whether it's to create a small group, to help people deal with the losses that they're struggling with addiction, there may be people here who want to be a recovery coach for somebody dealing with addiction," said Hubbard.
Bartscheck says the next workshop will be a one-day conference for families dealing with addiction.