BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Since officials in Erie County held a March 30 conference announcing the deaths of seven people in 24 hours from suspected opioid overdoses, 10 more people are suspected to have fallen victim to the drugs.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and other county officials said there was a spike in opioid overdose deaths early in the year. One person died as a result of opioids every day for the first 19 days of 2017.
55 people are suspected to have died from opioids in just the first 40 days of 2017.
Opioid-related deaths have been increasing in the county since 2012. There was a large increase in deaths from 2014 to 2015.
It was determined that 256 Erie County residents died because of opioids in 2016.
Erie County District Attorney John Flynn spoke at the March conference, saying “If I can prove it, I will charge a drug dealer with murder.”
Thursday, April 6, Erie County Legislature Patrick Burke presented a resolution to move $1 million from the county’s fund to the Erie County Department of Health to make more beds available at treatment facilities.
“The issue often is that there are some bed available but if you’re uninsured or under-insured you don’t have access,” Burke said
“If there’s a bed and no one can use it, it means there’s no access. If someone is sick in Erie County it affects everybody. While some may argue there are enough beds what does that actually mean? We need to make sure there’s bed available and that people can actually use them.”
The resolution was submitted to committee Thursday.
According to an addiction treatment specialist, the cost of housing and providing treatment to recovering addicts can range anywhere between $300 and $450 per bed, per day.