Local substance use clinics in central New York are reacting to President Donald Trump’s declaration of the opioid crisis as a public health emergency. Some officials said there are real solutions the federal government can do to save lives.

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KEYSTONE CROSSROADS - Backed by a new report showing stark differences in arrest rates for possessing marijuana, the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is calling on the state to legalize the drug. 

Cannabis Crackdown,” released this week, looked at arrests for possession in each of the 67 counties of the Commonwealth between 2010 and 2016. It found the number of adults arrested during that span has noticeably increased, and that African-Americans are bearing the brunt of the uptick.


Advocates for a site where heroin users can safely inject in Ithaca brought their case before the Tompkins County legislature this week. The only operational supervised injection sites in North America are in Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto. There are none yet in the U.S.

Laura Rosbrow

ITHACA (WSKG) - Back in the ‘90s, states sued big tobacco to pay for the costs of caring for smokers. Now, New York state counties, including Broome, are trying to sue big pharma over the opioid crisis. And Tompkins County is weighing whether it wants in. 


ROCHESTER (WXXI) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a bipartisan coalition to investigate major opioid manufacturers and distributors. 

New York State is getting $25 million in federal funds to help fight the opioid addiction epidemic.

Lieutenant Gov. Kathy Hochul says among other things, the funding will target a particular population: addicts in more rural areas where treatment is an hour or two away.

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HARRISBURG (WSKG) -- One of the root causes of opioid addiction is over-prescription of addictive drugs. A major reason it occurs is the practice of doctor shopping--when people visit five or more prescribers in hopes of getting drugs. 

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New York State is putting up $450,000 each to fund nine “Open Access Centers.” According to the governor’s office, it’s a way to get people connected to addiction recovery services quickly.

Tompkins County To Consider Joining Opioid Lawsuits

Aug 30, 2017
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According to two Tompkins County officials, the County’s been approached to join a lawsuit against the drug companies Purdue, Teva, Janssen and Endo Pharmaceuticals.


Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

(WRVO) As the opioid epidemic continues across upstate New York, Naxalone, known by its brand name as Narcan, has become a critical component in stopping overdoses. The Upstate New York Poison Center is trying to drive that point home at the New York State Fair.

Cliff Owen / AP Photo

Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick made headlines last year for his plan to combat the heroin epidemic. The most controversial idea is to build a supervised injection site

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

HARRISBURG (WSKG) - Over the last week, President Donald Trump has vacillated about how to handle the opioid epidemic that has wracked much of the US, including Pennsylvania. After initially saying he wouldn't declare a state of emergency, he did just that a few days later. 

Bret Jaspers / WSKG

The Broome Developmental Center is one step closer to becoming a site for addiction treatment.  New York's Office of Addiction and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) will fund 50 beds for medically-supervised withdrawal in Building 1 of the Center, located in the Town of Dickinson. It could eventually have a hundred beds and include more services.

Bret Jaspers / WSKG News


The shuttered Broome Developmental Center has drawn significant community interest as a possible place for more addiction treatment and related services. But the kind of treatment facility may be a sticking point.

The prescription drug crisis may be particularly acute in some rural counties in the midstate; new data shows Perry and Franklin counties are outliers. More than three percent of children who responded to a 2015 state survey in those two counties said they abused prescription drugs within the past 30 days. In every other part of the region, the number hovered around two percent or lower.  

Ben Allen, WITF

The latest version of the Senate GOP health care bill includes about $45 billion for opioid treatment. But experts are warning more people will die if the bill is approved. Jennifer Smith, Acting Secretary of the state Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, acknowledges that $45 billion in treatment money sounds big. 

One of the state's signature initiatives to address the opioid crisis initially got off to a rocky start. But enrollment at the so-called Centers of Excellence is starting to rebound. In the midst of an opioid crisis of unprecedented proportions, just 89 people addicted to opioids were seen at the centers in the midstate in January. 

Ellen Abbott, WRVO

SYRACUSE (WRVO) - The continuing opioid crisis in central New York is forcing one Syracuse-area agency to expand services. The expansion will allow ACR Health to serve more individuals addicted to opioids in its Drug Users Health Hub. 


ROCHESTER (WXXI) - At a time when opioid abuse is on the rise, officials say there's a growing need for forensic pathologists, or Medical Examiners. Senator Charles Schumer was at the Monroe County Medical Examiner's Office Thursday to announce his support for a fellowship program that will train University of Rochester doctoral residents to become M.E.'s. 

The heroin crisis - which has stretched for more than three years - has touched thousands of families. New data shows it's stressing the state's hospitals. Last year, more than 1,500 people were admitted to hospitals in Pennsylvania for heroin overdoses. Just two years earlier, it was less than 950. 

Katie Meyer

State Attorney General Josh Shapiro says he's investigating opioid manufacturers, along with attorneys general in at least 25 other states. The announcement comes after other states and counties have filed lawsuits alleging pharmaceutical companies helped create the crisis. 


(Harrisburg) -- A bill in the state Senate could make it more difficult to get some kinds of treatments for opioid addiction. And there are also questions about who is pushing the bill. State Senator Camera Bartolotta of Washington County proposed the legislation, which requires addiction doctors tell patients about all their options. 

Ben Allen, WITF

Debbie Friday's daughter is in Indiana County jail, waiting for a sentence after violating probation for crimes related to her heroin addiction. Friday - who works full-time as a nurse - has been left to take care of her four grandchildren. It's just another example of the ripple effects of the opioid crisis in Pennsylvania. 

Tom Magnarelli, WRVO

SYRACUSE (WRVO) - New medication-assisted treatment programs are opening across central New York to keep up with the opioid epidemic. The demand for the treatment is so high that a group of clinics is coming together in an effort to get the programs off the ground. 

Bret Jaspers / WSKG News

When people in Tompkins County need help with withdrawal symptoms, they have to go elsewhere.

AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris

A demonstration of what a supervised injection facility for heroin users would look like has been making its way across cities in New York state. The sites would allow someone to use the drug under medical supervision. To make it a reality, the state would need a new law. 

Bret Jaspers / WSKG News

Safe or supervised consumption sites are places where people addicted to drugs can use drugs under the supervision of medical staff - and without fear of arrest. They're illegal in New York, but Ithaca gained national attention last year when it proposed one.

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Pennsylvania has secured a federal grant to help in the fight against drug overdose deaths. More than $26 million will be used for treatment programs. The state says it will use the money to provide treatment to 6,000 uninsured or underinsured people. It plans to set up 8 treatment hubs with physicians and other medical professionals, along with people who can provide help in the community. 

Pamela Post / WSKG Public Media

ROCHESTER (WXXI) - A group of health care providers, drug reform advocates and former users next Monday will roll out a controversial plan in the battle against the heroin epidemic.


A state House panel has approved a proposal to provide some help to those trying to stop drug overdose deaths. But some are also concerned the measure creates other problems. Sponsored by Republican Representative Matt Baker of Tioga County, the bill would allow medical experts to force someone who has overdosed to stay in treatment for up to 72 hours