It’s been two years since the Chemung County Sheriff’s Office began Operation H.O.P.E. Now, the operation welcomes a new member.
That new partner is Elmira College.
The Heroin and Opioid Prevention Effort, more commonly known as Project H.O.P.E. joined forces with the college. It’s aim is to further inform the public on opioid dangers.
“It’s huge because we can get into other students from not just Chemung County,” Captain Douglas Houper of the Chemung County Sheriff’s Office, said. “But they’re coming from all other different states and Canada.”
But not only inform on the dangers, but to gather ideas on how to help those induced in addiction.
“I could stand up there and say ‘we’re going to arrest everybody that has drugs,’ but you know what, that’s putting a band-aid on things,” Houper said. “So we look at ways of thinking outside the box in how to treat these people.”
the operation has hosted similar discussions before, talking to residents and professionals such as medical groups on how to curb this epidemic.
“We’re not going to fix it overnight, but you know we got to get people talking,” Houper said. “We got to get people identifying their family members because everybody can get affected by this.”
More so in a region where opioid abuse has been rampant.
“I haven’t done one talk where one person wasn’t affected by this addiction problem,” Houper said, “whether they lost a loved one or there’s somebody currently that is addicted and having a lot of problems.”
Captain Houper says more people die from opioid overdoses than from car accidents.