BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A local activist whose son committed suicide nearly four years ago is reaching out to local children, with the hopes of preventing tragedy for another family.
Michael Israel was 18 in June 2011 when he took his own life after growing addicted to powerful painkillers prescribed for a medical condition.
His father, Avi Israel, started Save the Michaels of the World in his son’s honor.
“What we have right now in this country is a plague. It’s a man made plague,” Avi Israel said. “The more we enforce education and the more we give them that self assurance that there are better alternatives, the better we’ll do.”
Avi has committed himself to educating people of all ages about the dangers of prescription drugs and heroin, which killed more than 100 people in Erie County in each of the past three years.
Israel now travels to schools across Western New York with his message, a warning about addiction and methods to prevent it.
“It’s an epidemic in this country,” he said. “It’s killing our kids, it’s killing our future. And it’s up to us to stop it.”