ELMIRA, N.Y. (WENY) -- The medical community is taking on our area's opioid epidemic.
On Thursday, professionals from across the area gathered to discuss how they can help combat the problem. The forum was the latest effort to talk about treating addiction in the Southern Tier.
"I felt compelled to do more," says Nicole Crout, Medical Assistant with Arnot Medical Services. "What are we doing to help these opiate-dependent patients in our community? And [also] to get more doctors on board to treat this epidemic."
The program returned to Elmira after an uproar of success last year.
Officials say the hope is to drive home the true gravity of the problem.
"I think a lot of doctors don't want to mess with it," says Crout. "It can be messy. So we're trying to educate them that it's no different than your diabetic patient or your patient with high blood pressure not taking their medicine."
Among those presenting-- the Chemung County Sheriff's Office, who says their own initiative saved 26 lives this year. Also Trinity of Chemung County, and medical professionals working on the frontlines..
But officials say the problem needs more than just doctors to be on board--the community is needed as well.
"Right here in our own neighborhood, you don't think it can happen, but it's happening," says Crout. "We want [the community] to look at them as a person. They're a person with a disease and they need help."