Denise Young/WXXI News

Monroe County officials released figures Wednesday that show the deadly impact that the opioid crisis has had on this area.

At a news conference at Greece Town Hall, County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo said in the first half of 2016, the medical examiner’s office reported 97 overdose fatalities directly attributable to the use of heroin, opioids and other related substances.

In the same time period of 2017, there were 115 deaths.


In an effort to increase access to addiction treatment services in the wake of the opioid crisis, the New York State Health Department is giving hospitals an opportunity to add more in-patient detox beds.

The Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) is temporarily waiving a certification requirement that would allow hospitals to add detox beds through the end of this year. 

Monroe County currently only has 25 such beds, even though addiction specialists say the need is four to five times that amount.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to impose a tax on manufacturers of prescription opioids to help pay for state programs that assist people who are addicted to them. But some say it will be patients who ultimately will have to pay the price.

Cuomo laid out the opioid tax proposal in his state budget address nearly two months ago, saying it’s only fair that the makers of the pain pills shoulder some of the financial burden of treating people who became addicted to the medicines.

There will soon be more help for people dealing with addiction on the east side of Monroe County. 

Gates to Recovery, which is a volunteer-run effort that has been in that town for the last few months, is getting ready to open two satellite centers, one at the Webster Community Center and the other in East Rochester.

Stand Up for Recovery Day in Albany

Mar 6, 2018

Around 50 people from Rochester were in Albany Tuesday for what's called "Stand Up for Recovery Day."

Among other things, they're calling on lawmakers to advance public policies and practices that promote and support recovery from addiction.

Lori Drescher is representing the Greater Monroe Recovery Community Organization.

She says in the midst of an opioid crisis, the state has not kept pace with the resources needed to fight this pandemic.

freeimages.com/Cathy Kaplan

As part of the ongoing effort to stem the heroin and opioid crisis, a number of service providers are getting together Monday to offer support for people who are struggling with addiction and their families.

The Monroe County Heroin Task Force is hosting the outreach event, along with Rochester Regional Health and several local recovery groups and agencies. 

The Rochester area will be getting some badly needed detox beds to help people who are dealing with addiction withdrawal.

Governor Andrew Cuomo says a total of $10 million is being distributed to five providers across the state in areas that are now underserved in terms of resources to help deal with opioid addiction and other substances. 

That includes $2.14 million that will go to the Villa of Hope in Monroe County, to establish 18 detox beds.


The chief medical investigator at the Monroe County Medical Examiner's office is urging people to be their own advocate when it comes to pain management.

Bob Zerby, whose job includes the oversight of field investigations and autopsies, has witnessed firsthand the surge in heroin and opioid-related deaths in recent years.  Death is the great equalizer, he says, but there is no one profile of an opioid or heroin user.

"There are no boundaries - rich or poor, inner city or suburban, black or white - it doesn't matter. It's everybody."


A WXXI News investigation has found that there are 25 medically licensed detox beds in all of Monroe County, even though addiction specialists say that the need is at least four to five times that number. Doctors and addiction specialists describe the situation as a shortage that is making the fight against the opioid epidemic more difficult.

Two Rochester area organizations are hosting a day of hope and healing for those affected by the opioid addiction crisis.

The Saturday event will feature speakers on issues ranging from grief to the legal system. There will also be a restorative yoga class, massages, and information and recovery and self-care resources.

Brianna McInerny, one of the organizers, hopes those who attend, whether they are battling addiction or love someone who is, feel supported by their community.