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Community forum to address heroin, opioid crisis

A community forum on the region’s mounting heroin and opioid epidemic will be held March 3 in North Buffalo.

Experts on hand to answer questions will include Dr. Richard Blondell, a University at Buffalo professor who is director of the National Center for Addiction Training; and Dr. Gail Burstein, the Erie County health commissioner.

Also on hand will be William J. Hochul Jr., the U.S. Attorney for Western New York; John Flickinger, head of the federal Drug Enforcement Agency’s Buffalo office; Mayor Byron W. Brown and other city, county and state political leaders.

The town-hall-style meeting will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the North Park Theater, 1428 Hertel Ave.

The forum is being sponsored by the Save the Michaels of the World organization along with Brown and a host of other government officials. Save the Michaels of the World was founded by Avi and Julie Israel, whose son, Michael, committed suicide in 2011 while addicted to prescription opioids. He was 20 years old. Since their son’s death, the Israels have been working to help combat the opiod and heroin epidemic.

The meeting is free and open to the public. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.