BUFFALO, NY - Erie County over the last few months has been operating an addiction hotline, helping those addicted to drugs get into treatment.
The number to call is: 716-831-7007.
But, calls to the hotline have dropped off dramatically and some are questioning whether the hotline is having an impact.
The numbers definitely tell the story -- when this taxpayer-funded addiction hotline was launched back in August, more than 70 people called the first day. There was some heavy call volume after that as well.
But, since then, calls for help have plummeted into the single digits, with sometimes only one person calling all day.
Erie County legislator Lynne Dixon has taken notice, telling 2 On Your Side she's concerned about how many people are being helped on a consistent basis.
"What avenues are we pursuing to ensure more people know about the number? What follow up is in place with those that called to ensure they are getting the treatments available to them? That was always a caveat of the approval for the hotline funding -- tracking follow up. I am hoping they bring that data with them Thursday," Dixon said.
Dixon chairs that Health and Human Services committee within the Erie County Legislature, which plans to address the numbers on Thursday.
Leaders at Crisis Services, which operates the hotline 24-7, say the hotline is in need for a big marketing campaign. And, Crisis Services says it's in the process of running commercials on radio and putting ads on NFTA buses and flyers in some pharmacies. Leaders say you can expect the ad campaign to be launched in the next couple weeks.
REPORTER: One may wonder why marketing wasn't thought of a little bit more so beforehand?
"It was an important question, we were also eager to get something up and running from a service side of things, so from Crisis Services' stand point, our focus at the time was really to get staff in, staff trained and all the logistics set up," said Jessica Pirro, the CEO of Crisis Services.
Officials say when you look at the big picture, over the last few months, there has been a strong response, with more than 700 people calling in, and about half of those calls from addicts themselves. The majority of the calls have been made from Buffalo, with most people calling for help regarding heroin, opioids and alcohol abuse.
Of those who have called, Pirro says about 40 have been placed into treatment or kept their appointment.