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Heroin Task Force Takes to Elmira for Solutions
ELMIRA (WENY) -- It's a common story throughout the country: Prescription painkillers are a gateway to an often deadly addiction.
Andrew Drake hurt his back about ten years ago, working in construction.
"I got prescribed Percocet and Vikodin and then obviously the doctor only keeps you on it for so long and so then I eventually transferred to one of my friends said they can get heroin and that's how I got started on all of that," said Andrew Drake.
After using heroin at least twice a day for 8 years, the Elmira man has been clean for over 9 months.
"My family didn't want me around them, I stole from them, I was just tired of everything. it just wasn't a fun life anymore."
Andrew got out before it was too late.Now on Suboxone and in stage three of treatment at Trinity of Chemung County, he says if he wanted to, he could find heroin in Elmira with in half an hour, for just $5-7 a bag.
Like Andrew, Chris (chose not to share his last name), who lives in Ithaca, went through a downward spiral.
"I ruined every relationship I've ever been in. I hurt people and it's like these skeletons in the closet come back out and haunt me and I was tired of being haunted. I was tired of being a bad person," said Chris.
Chris and Andrew were able to get the help they needed, but that's not always the case.
The New York State Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction has been holding public forums since early April in every region of the state to find out what can be done to combat the growing problem.
"We hear at all of these forums of insurance companies rejecting for individuals to get into an in-patient treatment facility-- Which are lacking in and of themselves, just the facilities to go to," said Senator Tom O'Mara who serves as a member of the task force.
Senator O'Mara says the task force has already started putting legislation together. The last of the forums wrap up within the next few weeks.