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Senate Task Force Hosts So. Tier Heroin/Opioid Forum

NY Senate Task Force Hosts So. Tier Heroin/Opioid Forum

ONEONTA (WENY) -- Lawmakers are calling on the community for a solution to the growing heroin epidemic.
    The newly formed New York State Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction hosted their Southern Tier forum-- one of 15 throughout the state.
     State Senator Tom O'Mara, a member of the Task Force, is hoping a forum will be held closer to Elmira.
     Lawmakers today said heroin and opioid overdoses are reaching epidemic proportions throughout the state.
     They looked for recommendations on tackling the issue, from panelists like law enforcement, doctors, substance abuse counselors, and the community.
     The task force is looking to pen 3 to 4 potential bills to address the issues raised by June.
     Experts and addicts in recovery at today's forum say the resurgence of heroin has to do with the usage of pain medications, which quickly can lead to addictions. They say heroin is cheaper and easier to get than prescription drugs.
     "We have a real problem and struggle on how to deal with this social issue we have across our state," said Senator O'Mara. "And there's a real problem with access to meaningful effective treatment for those that find themselves addicted.
     WENY's Tanja Rekhi is working on a special report on the growing issue that will air on May 1, 2014. If you tune in you'll hear first hand what that addiction can be like and what it can lead to. She also met with from families who have lost loved ones to addictions. And she looks into what law enforcement is doing to stop the problem. The report will also have  resources to help if you know someone trying to get over an addiction.