Opiate Task Force

On Target with Penny Wolfgang
Sunday, February 18th

Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

This is on target with penny Wolfgang a program that takes an inside look at what is happening in Western New York with news features and special guests. Now here's your host Tony Wolfgang. Ty hello everybody. Thank you so much for joining us today and on target. I'm your host penny Wolfgang and it's a pleasure for me to talk to every week we try to discuss subjects so we think are interesting and important. Topical. Informational for all of us who live in west new community. And I always tried to address a neon interest in or involved in because it's my program. And nine guys let's take advantage of it right so hungry Jim Wright and socio an adjusted well when I am very in seeing is it's. A new appointment pretty new which I received about a year ago four from. Our county executive Alan carrots and he asked if I was serve on the Erie county opiate epidemic test for us. And I was very honored and pleased to be able to participate in this really really worthwhile endeavor. And with this in very impressive group of people who represent all aspects of the community that involved in fighting this. Epidemic. So. I decided at its entrance Caesar right from your eyes you think about it or what's as saying you know strengthen your eyes and you just ignoring you can't think his senate saying instead. And so excellent why don't I. Bring some of these members. She's studio two on target and discuss it with so you my listening alien so you can find out. A little bit more about now in the chance fullest but their mission there. There endeavor is in the group said our involve the people involved and hopefully he not only accomplishments. But what the future holds so in the studio with us today. Start to people who are very actively involved with this committee as well as inciting this epidemic under other and other. The way isn't in the studio is frank cigar. Pan out just scarf and I don't. And frankly column. Had he. He is really really one of the most instrumental members of this group and I think he'll tell you why in a minute because he is C. Environmental. Compliance specialist for the county Erie department of health so naturally could sort of tell by the title. How it's important that is to the work of the chance to listen also with us is. Sal aid. Yet Garrick it's like is it notes and currently is likely lose Eric get a list of yak Garrick right I always say it's okay because it's my husband's name yeah I don't think Jamie Sale I checked I try them on time people don't believe at this time is this name Wolfgang. But and a talent and real enhanced early he has to. Since anyway Sally frank are here and tallies title is CPP. Parent program coordinator. In. I assume that you have to challenge your fighting Noah Elisa is Joan with CPP stands it's a credentialed professionals. For prevention. OK so there is live with Peter Kenny counsel for the prevention of alcohol and substance abuse bright finishes I wanted to talk about that too and we actually. Under a target have talked to people from the Erie county council. For the prevention and education of out concerts this piece in the pants but it was before our. Well we talked to them before the opiate epidemic to your place and you know it was relevant at that point more to. Alcoholism and really you know I know that fifty started out being about percent and it's it's heal his camera and counsel in the state. Oh railing and did not know that then this is like a branch in Western New York. Yes there's county zoning us statement. Okay let me let let's tell our listeners what the opiate epidemic task force is sent to. A fancy name for a group that's a really hard working addressing this issue. Frank knows. You both know a friend knows I know. So two years ago. County executive mark home curse initiated the Erie county OP an epidemic task force. Any church does sort of become more rock cross functional levered live. Group to work across the whole spectrum. He tests those with a mission to provide a framework for organizations and individuals from across the opiate overdose continuing. To collaborate developed and share best practices. Through timely sharing of information to assist individuals and their loved ones fighting the disease of addiction. And to undertake prevention efforts that educate community the community. And the dangers of addiction. And I know that's up big were a hotel well. Well. But that's what our mission and I don't all of boil that down big test for the basics there. It's the get a lot of us in the same place to start discussing this issue and approaching this not from one direction or try to go one magic bullet. But to see what everybody. Can do whether it's the law enforcement. And treatment providers. Family members were dealing with addiction or have lost someone to it. Professionals. Like cell Li who's been working on this for years or decades. Borer individuals like myself who came in just recently. From the world's environmental protection. And bring programs like the us safe drug disposal programs we run. It's that kind of clever given that cross functionality. And. Could that really explains the way it's being addressed. So the purpose broke down into seven different committees. Blew the lead one that is headed up like director Kelberg stained her. Our commissioner county health. And her group is the provider education policy reform. And she's really working with the doctor urged to change how we prescribe. To change the policies and so are looking at. How the medical community can work better. And then we have the hospital and emergency departments I don't know by doctor Elizabeth from Zach. And they're looking at ways to better treat individuals when they arrive at the ER and how can we connect them and service. If somebody showed up with a heart attack we wouldn't just send them home and say hey get better. We connect them with service and we get them to a specialist on the on the specialist passes them off. Two of their primary care physician and we're looking at how can we do that with addiction. We have blocks on access headed up by my immediate supervisor Cheryl more. And Charles been at this for a long time training people how to use blocked so. In our camp getting it out of the public teaching her first responders whether it's law enforcement fire. Even our judges on our court systems now have an and it. And then we have the treatment providers headed up by. Our commissioner mental health like rainy and he is working with the treatment community we have started changing treatment. We're no longer treating addiction like it's 1984 we've brought the science into it and we're treating people with modern medicine. I and then we have. General and although who heads up the Haida are high intensity drug trafficking area group. And he had so there are reap. The rapid evaluation. And appropriate placement program if you have an addiction problem and you wanna get help. Many of our law enforcement agencies you can walk into and say I have a problem I wanna get help. And they will see you down we bring an Angel and who would sit down with you what we've put you through the evaluation process. And only appropriately place you in treatment without treatment. Get joints medically assisted treatment we figure out what's right if you have an outstanding warrant yes you're gonna get arrested. But Penry and move you over towards the drug courts if you're a watchful. Otherwise you don't we're gonna get you placed. And we're not gonna rush we're gonna get your treatment. And then we have Deborah Smith apparent terrorist who unfortunately lost a child to this epidemic. She heads up the friendly consumer support advocacy section. The well there're working on many programs to get education helps people. To help people connect with services. Because this is more than just the individual. Suffering from addiction it impacts the family and impacts everybody in the community. And the working heard in that and then there's bigger than myself and silly belong to. Which is the whole group BI heroin opiate prevention engagement project. And we're we do a lot of public events we do a lot of outreach we develop a lot of a lot of well programming that we put out to the community and do a lot actually spread the message and help bring down stigma. Which probably one of the biggest problems we're facing right now is. Stigma associated with production. You know when you mention that this could be your program Sallie in the outreach how does it work lady assigned to people that you working with. I mean the people who need help. Well at my agency had people call us today. There's no shortage of people that need help if you go out walk out the door today and tell some on what you do. And if you work in the field they're gonna say to you I'm so glad you do this Sino silence in the last child. And we everywhere you turn it's so. Permeated in our society that is the drug use is really gotten to the point. Where something had to happen and I tell you when night. Started and going to the opiate task force I was so impressed with everything that's gone on. And during that this past summer our agency was one of ten agencies that was asked to go to New Orleans to a training. For the Medicaid assisted treatment three of the other agencies there were aware of this task force. That far away I mean that's how unique aspect of the task force has been. We do I mean we reach that we don't let apparent programs until I reach a lot of people with the brochures that we have sent developed. And with the information we invite people to be part of the task force. I volunteered to be on coalitions. Wherever I can yes spread the word that's that we do. OK now we talking about the read the different providers and the different set segments. When we had their reports icann meetings. They started out with we which I feel daily means but it seems to be. One of the pivotal parts of the group. So I'll reap the program where if you have a have an addiction issue that you can total total these law enforcement agencies and ask for help. And they will connect you with services. They they've really got to portions. Two parts to what they do the first is connecting people to that services. A lot of times people are afraid to go to law enforcement we understand that but the other. Health of the reprogramming does changing the way a law enforcement in gauges for persons with addiction. Because food over forty years we have fought a war on drugs. And that has isolated people with addiction. Because they faced being incarcerated. Instead of getting treatment. But changing the way law enforcement looks at us. We've been able to really take giant leaps forward and helping connect people to the next level and getting them service and help. There are people on the committee and from law enforcement as well TS fullest while working. Because. Doesn't the head of an Orchard Park for example. A police commissioner and commissioner fashion doing everything right come. Sorry sir how it but. I mean the chief yet and interaction fact. But the point of all that is as he said flown footage have a different perspective not just punishing. Not just incarceration but Jud you know avoidance. Treatment and avoidance and contests after word fifty. I think that the more we can educate people about recovery. We're so much better off if you look at a person who's in recovery they're getting their life back together again. They are becoming part of their family again their working again they are productive citizens. If we can get to you know do away with the stigma. And help people understand addiction as a disease. It's not something that people choose to hand. And it's not something that's a moral failing it's a disease. They will get help. But as long as people judge them. You know saying oh we're just stop you can't it's a disease. So we need to break that statement down so more people get health. This is what to farmer burns who is the chairperson of the community education and prevention aspect. What Farmar has been working on and I'm working with her his. Trying to let the community knows that it's like you said it's a disease it's not something. To be embarrassed ashamed. Or continue your words but you know that kind of thing. That duke you have to ask that you help and get help. And nobody's going to judge you for brain exams from. And she's going to be trying to bring this to this. Media's attention and there are a lot of a lot of things been stigma now. Actually when Alex clincher referring kitten Casey just students Bayless into on target. With fewer host penny Wolfgang only I'd give addressing today the Erie Kenny opiate. Epidemic task force and talking to two members of the test for us who are crucial member is. Frank and Sally and we are discussing what they are doing and what what can be done and we just mentioned something before frank which I wanna go into. It's the issue of the medically assisted. Treatment treatment so there's a lot a way to say F controversy. Regarding that issue. Whether. You are making it worse when you are giving drugs to addicts with you are treating them with an arcane and time and time again and to no avail all of these you know issues that arise with the medically treat medical treatment. I. Your a lot of these issues and a pretty regular. Basis and some of some of the reasons people feel this way is. Because. They just don't know. 01 of the big things about medically assisted treatment. Is that people don't understand is one once you have an addiction to obedience. Your body stops producing its natural opiates. An inch then when you don't have any natural opiates your body craves them it has to have them. And that's with the physical dependency becomes and without it you become sick you become violently ill you have it. Coming out of both fans and you don't know which way to sit on the toilet. Your body shape your fever runs high you would. Breed rapidly it feels like bugs are crawling under your skin. And people will do anything they have to. To avoid that. But we also got to understand that 80%. Of our persons with an opiate addiction started with prescription pills. So. They that they didn't ask to be here. It's not like they were going out and doing heroin. And got here they start with a pill that came from a doctor that was bought at a pharmacy and paid for by insurance. And that physical addiction crew as they took those pills this prescribe many times. And once you have that physical addiction. It's. You have to have something that replaces that otherwise we guarantee we're going to fail on recovery. So we need to stabilize the patient. When they show up in the rim and Charl we need to get them stabilized. We can't deal with the underlying issues until their stable. Just like if somebody came in. Because of diabetes. We have to get those blood sugar levels stable. Before we conserved dealing with them to try to change the rest of the situation. And we have to do the same with a medically assist treatment. We know we have scientific evidence now and now I'm a tree and trained as a scientist and I am all about scientific data. When you show me things work. That is what I believe is the best way they handled us and that is the way Erie county is starting to approach this is moving true. Science based factually based process and medical use this treatment is that processed. In the air issues of it's of training and did doctors. What the physicians aren't there who can. Who can do this who are qualified. To. Gives this treatment and who know how and who are. Well against. Named as providers. So it can. There's. Treatment drug out the people nor for an strict commonly. Known as some fox owner so backs. And you have to have a special waiver from the DHB what do prescribed that. We have been offering that was training some and we have some of our doctors who've been working with us in our. That have been going out and continuing this training and getting more more doctors certified. Through the DA. And the federal government to be able to prescribe this to individuals. Now some individuals will be on this for a while until the stabilized. And then able to get off get off of smart's own. A while other people. When will not they may spend the rest blue light fine. But just like somebody who's suffering from diabetes they may have to take insulin a rest of their life and put other stable and they're not going out and you know harming themselves anymore. And that is that is definitely a step in the right direction and it's getting them help. And with them what they found is people that take. The Medicaid assisted treatment in conjunction with counseling is so important. Those of the people that succeed. In an Medicaid assisted treatment is then like I am a bridge to get them from. Yeah and used disorder to sobriety. But that the counseling along with the medicine is really Penske. Now let's took a little bit about the education aspect they know that there is a group. That not just not by this group but another group I think that is permitted same going to schools and starting at the very. Youngest age is possible. To education they teachers. As well as the students which I think curiously. Dean and education group Armey's group that you're talking about. They actually put together a presentation to take into the schools and it was sent to all the superintendents. And ask them you know join us a command. And we go in and we talk about the opiate epidemic and how as educators. They can help to students. Things that they can do share with parents. Just about anything that they need to we can provide them with. To say think statistics are showing that how young. Not only how across the Boyd but how young. PE people are starting times and opiate addiction. So where we are seeing more more. Young children and young adults. More children. Are being exposed opiates younger and younger some as young as 1213 years old. And it's being done in a medical situation where they have to have surgery. Sports injuries are usually one of the most common routes were your exposed opiates. But we also know the younger re exposed a child. Or another young adult to an opiate of the greater the risk becomes for a long term addiction. Because the brain chemistry really doesn't lock in until their early twenties and opiates real impact to bring capturing. And quickly. You know we'd look at them addiction and addiction is it's not just a prescription it starts. Very young alcohol tobacco marijuana works its way up. Prescription is a quicker. Method. To use disorder. They both kitchen there and they are both you know either wrote to me either road that you take. Can be deadly when if you can't get help. And nets and the nets were trying to do to educate people since they know how to get help how to reach out to the crisis hotline. That is there just for people that need count four and an addiction. And people are using an eye and I don't image remember what the last number was trying people are starting to use it. I do not have the numbers for the hotline. Unfortunately. It's crisis services. I have lined them yes although we do have one specifically. For. Ethiopia which grateful for any addiction if you can reach out to that instead of the I hope China line. I manage here is Sam the Derek hits and 168317007. Now statistically. I know you I know you can. It's just tricky so dead letter and let's talk a little bit about how will how accomplishments you know. How many deaths have been there were are and how. How much success Steffi chancellor assists has had led that the education in other methods of had as well. So. When the task force began two years ago we had seen this incredible. Increase in opium overdoses. Between 2014 and 2015 we went from 127. Overdoses. 2256. Overdoses. And that is a 100% increase and that was dramatic. It was also grew we were able to quickly identify them driving factor for that was. We had our persons dealing with the opiate addiction that we're switching from pills prescription drugs. Two street drugs. I stop it come on alignment and enforcement policies. Programs like my drug collection program. And as they want to mention gas tank well oh yeah they were becoming very effective and eliminating the amount of prescription pills that were out there. And as people work. Able to doctor shop anymore they can only go to rent doctoring you'll want prescription. Instead of being able to go to five different doctors and getting fired different Scripps. They need it to meet that need that albeit in that physical addiction and they knew they had to do something. So they turned to the street. And there was a product out there which terror win and it was mixed with France and now and its that fence at all that was really driving the overdose deaths. We know in 2015. About 26%. A Virgo overdoses were related to pills. Where the other 74%. Were either heroin or fence at all an error when relate it. Of that 43%. We're just straight up fentanyl later there was no matter what involved. And 2017. We no offense and all accounts for almost all of our doubts. We're at as little as. I believe it's true. As little as 16% of our deaths associated with petals. And of all the wrestled that's only 5%. Were relayed it to just terrible. The other 80%. Were related tough until now. And drug tunnels what's killing our people whether it's here and Western New York or Ohio or Massachusetts that is driving the death rates. Am assuming that that is not something that is legal that is gained illegally like you know opiates can be as you point as you pointed out you could get them. From a doctor or whatever but fentanyl would have to be illegally correct. There's different kinds of fat enough there is the the fentanyl that you get as a prescription. Pain reliever it's it's. It's stronger than morphine. It's it's really a pain reliever but then there was fentanyl that was coming in from. The super labs in China. And some of the ingredients were in there were illegal and they were having a really hard time stopping them from coming into our country because in her staff at. But since I mean as far as I know they have identified the chemicals and have put them as controlled substances. So of the federal government passed a law that allows the DH you. Shoot you know as soon as these new chemicals are appearing on the street to add them to schedule. A New York State is working towards that from my understanding. Now most of these drugs were developed by drug companies there's hundreds of variations of fats and all there and and we're seeing. Then as one becomes outlawed we're seeing a new variety had street. We know just this last summer we had. Four types of offense and all's on the street and it and heroin. Most of these don't even have. Reason to be used they don't have a pharmaceutical use. A lot of these are just happened in drugs that were never produced for the population. And our being produced in these clandestine labs overseas. So really. There's been a lot of accomplishments. That you can be proud of and that I noticed a lot more work to go bust. And if you wanna just maybe before we close. Channel everywhere they can find you we mentioned the hotline is there anything else that you want people to know any of the ways that they can get help. If they needed. I and they can go. Near Kent council permanent we do make referrals we don't to treatment they're that we make referrals her treatment team. And we help families they're dealing with it even if the person with the use disorder is not ready for treatment. We help the family. And that's important to. But that the Health Department. But the Health Department has a lot of ways to get all of us the easiest is to go to our website. Www. Yuri deck of slash health. And they're you can find a whole list of whatever we're doing our camp training is in your area and even if you're not dealing with someone immediate in your immediate family with addiction. It's really could take this class slurs about an hour worth of information that we give whether it's the stats because. We know him you know someone he may not know you know somebody Christine do you know who knows someone. Thank and the other thing is you can always call our office 8587695. Thank you so much thank you frank scar did not know from the and county Erie department of health. And thank you Sally you Garrett from the and your canny council of education prevention intervention. And thank you are they for listening so we'll see you again next weekend are really good week and by everything. You've been listening to one target with many Wolfgang. A program that takes an inside look at Western New York in our community. If you have any comments or suggestions please write depending Wolfgang it's 500 corporate parkway suite 200 Amherst New York. 114 to six.