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Letter: County needs services to help loved ones fighting addiction

County needs services to help loved ones fighting addiction As a mother who lost her adored son, Nathaniel, to the opiate epidemic, which began from a course of medically prescribed treatment, I have information. Many children who are dying were r

We took them to the doctor when they were ill or injured, filled their prescriptions and told them to take the medicine. We were confused when things began to change and struggled with the person they became. Things became dark, for them, as we wondered what transpired. Their path became pitted and twisted. We prayed this was a short phase but this path became a mudslide, with no footholds. Our ignorance became despair as we realized there is no one to call. There is no voice in the darkness to guide them home.

In 2014, the World Health Organization’s website foretold the opiate epidemic was coming to communities. We were slow to respond to their suggestions. Now we have a health crisis with few resources and no plan.

We shed our ignorance in light of the death toll, to realize the need for a professionally staffed telephone line for screenings and referrals for those seeking help. The Health Department needs staff.

We are confident our Erie County Legislature, entrusted with community good faith, will approve necessary resources to ensure services until federal and state funding is secured. Historically, human plight has occurred that has given rise to apathy. We cannot permit this to continue in our community.

Debra Smith