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Letter: We need viable programs, not an addiction hotline

We need viable programs, not an addiction hotline

The Erie County Legislature has to be congratulated for looking to solve the current opioid crisis. However, its solution to create an addiction hotline falls short of addressing the problem.

An addiction hotline does not equate to saving lives. Anyone can do an Internet search or look in the phone book to find contact information about drug rehab programs in Erie County. What will the hotline accomplish?

The hotline will refer callers to programs that have waiting lists for inpatient services and to outpatient clinics. However, if you don’t have insurance or the ability to pay for these services, you have wasted your time, not to mention $300,000 of county taxpayer dollars.

The state and county currently fund numerous programs in Erie County to combat the addiction problem. Maybe it’s time to look at the programs that are not successfully addressing the problem and redirect funds to a solution that will work. Not a hotline.

In Erie County, the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services and the Erie County Department of Mental Health are charged with providing treatment programs that yield results. Maybe the investigation should start there?

We need to provide treatment that works to anyone in need, regardless of ability to pay. In the long run, if the services are not provided, people continue to die, related crimes continue to rise and we all end up paying for it.

Carl M. Baj