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Forum on opioid crisis to be held Thursday at Bennett High School

A free public event billed as a community conversation on opioids will be held Thursday at Bennett High School, 2885 Main St.

Doors open at 5 p.m., with the speaking program at 5:45 p.m. Free parking is available adjacent to the high school, and light refreshments courtesy of Tops Markets will be served.

Speakers will include Mayor Byron W. Brown; Dr. Gale R. Burstein, Erie County health commissioner; Dr. Jeffrey Grace, clinical director at the Buffalo Psychiatric Center; Al Hammonds, executive director of Millennium Collaborative Care; Julie Israel of Save the Michaels of the World; Robert Kent, chief counsel for the state Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse; Karl Shallowhorn, director of community advocacy for the Mental Health Association of Erie County; Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes; and Dr. Paul Updike, medical director of chemical dependency at Sisters Hospital.

The conversation is a collaborative effort between Millennium Collaborative Care and other area organizations. It was organized in response to the rising concern over heroin and prescription opioid misuse and abuse. The forum also will focus on such issues as mental and behavioral health, as well as suicide prevention.

Millennium Collaborative Care is a provider under the state’s Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment program, an initiative to restructure Medicaid. Visit for more information.