BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- The need for help in the fight against drug addiction continues to grow. Seven people in Erie County died from an overdose in a 24-hour span last week.
On Monday night, someone caused a crash in Buffalo after overdosing while behind the wheel.
A program to help those struggling with addiction is now expanding.
“As bottomless, as hopeless, as broken as everything might seem, there’s absolutely a new way of life and I know that because I’ve found it,” said Shannon Veiders, the team leader for Addict 2 Addict.
She is in long term, stable recovery and is now helping others turn their life around.
Addict 2 Addict is a 24-hour call line for people struggling with addiction in Erie County. It connects callers to Veiders and other peers, who can give advice about treatment options.
They discuss everything from inpatient treatment to 12 step programs.
“We know recovering is personal,” said Veiders. “What might work for one person, might not be right for another.”
They’ve answered more than 200 calls from families and people dealing with addiction since the program started Aug. 1, 2016.
“It’s been extremely difficult for people to find open beds in detoxes and rehabs and different kinds of treatment centers,” said Veiders.
She said, through relationships they’ve built in the community, they’ve been able to successfully link every person within treatment within 72 hours of their call.
Governor Cuomo announced on Friday that Western New York Independent Living has received a $146,444 grant to expand in Niagara County.
They plan to have two peers available in Niagara County to offer support.
“They will support people probably at opposite ends of the county but we’ll see where the need is the most,” said Katie Trombley, the director of community engagement for WNY Independent Living.
Trombley told News 4 it will be a few weeks before a program launches in Niagara County.
They hope it will help fill in a gap in services. Trombley said there is a lack of resources in rural parts of the county and many people have to travel more than an hour to get help, which she said is critical time for someone in crisis.
This new program will be similar to Addict 2 Addict in Erie County because there will be a hotline that connects those struggling with addiction to a peer for support.
“To make sure that if you need support at 2:00 a.m., someone’s there for you,” said Trombley.
A difference, however, will be that they plan to utilize Niagara County resources. If someone seeking help goes to a hospital or a clinic, they will be referred to the program.
You can reach WNY Independent Living of Niagara County at 284-4131 if you need help right now.
To reach Addict 2 Addict, call 836-2726.