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Forum on addiction, opioid use in Ken-Ton scheduled for May 4

A forum on addiction and opioid use in the Village of Kenmore, Town of Tonawanda and City of Tonawanda has been scheduled for May 4.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for “You Are Not Alone: Addiction In Our ZIP Code” in the auditorium at Kenmore West High School, 33 Highland Parkway.

The presentation, which begins at 7 p.m., is scheduled to include Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz; Erie County Health Commissioner Gale Burstein; Dr. Paul Updyke, a pain management specialist and internist; veterans group WNY Heroes; Julie Israel, mother of Michael, who became addicted to opioid painkillers and took his own life in 2011; Town of Tonawanda Police Chief Jerome C. Uschold; Kids Escaping Drugs; and Buffalo Veterans Court.

A focus of the event is eliminating shame felt by addicts and their families, said organizer and Town Councilman William C. Conrad III.

“This is a topic not a lot of people want to address head-on,” he said.

The forum is sponsored by the Village of Kenmore, Town and City of Tonawanda, Save the Michaels of the World and Horizon Health Services.