Community members, law enforcement, and recovering addicts held the first Community Opioid and Substance Abuse Forum Thursday night in Bath.
About 100 people attended the discussion at Haverling High School to both learn about the issues facing the community and ask questions about how they can help loved ones who may be suffering.
One member of Addiction Awareness of Steuben County says the issues discussed at the forum hit close to home for her.
“Personally I have a 24-year-old daughter who is recovering heroin opiate addict,” said Teresa Haight.
“She’s been clean from heroin for three years and she’s been clean from opiate pills for 13 months. So that’s what drives me to be doing what I’m doing and be involved in support groups.”
Steuben County Sheriff Jim Allard says he was pleased with the turnout at the first event of this kind in their county.
He describes drug abuse in Steuben county as reaching, “epidemic proportions” — saying when he began his career in law enforcement, they never saw any heroin.
“The number of saves we’ve had with Narcan versus the number that we haven’t been able to get to in time makes this a unique issue not only within Steuben County but across the state,” said Sheriff Jim Allard.
“Of the 136 felony arrests we made last year in 2016, over 50 percent was heroin or opiate based.”
Event organizers say while Thursday’s event was the first of its kind in Steuben County, they hope to hold more discussions like it in the future across different parts of the county.