Communities across New York State are still struggling to find a solution to the opioid crisis.
In Cayuga County, nearly 300 people in the county were admitted to a drug treatment facility last year in connection to the epidemic.
That hits home For Stephen Van Iderstine.
“At about 18, I started experimenting with other substances, primarily opioids," Van Iderstine said. "That was right after the loss of my father and I just went on and progressed.”
Van Iderstine sought help after he lost his brother to a heroin overdose. Now years into his recovery, he’s joining the fight against the opioid crisis as a peer administrator for Nick's Ride 4 Friends.
“It takes a community to allow an addict to recover,” said Van Iderstine.
He was joined at a discussion in Auburn Monday night by many others touched by the crisis.
On the legislative level, Rep. John Katko (NY-24) says we need to focus on enforcement, prevention, and treatment.
“I also have a bill that’s out there to limit prescriptions to first-time users limits to seven days for opioids just to make sure people are first-time uses, just to make sure we don’t over-prescribe," Katko said.
It’s a battle that’s being fought across the state.
There was another forum in Lewis County on Monday, where Rep. Elise Stefanik (NY-21) said it’s important to invest in local clinics and counseling services.
“I’m a big believer that dollars are best spent when the decisions are made at the local level and I’ve been able to deliver federal grants not only to Lewis county but Jefferson county,” said Stefanik
There is some sign that treatment may be working.
The latest numbers from the New York State Department of Health show 20 people in Cayuga County died of opioid-related overdoses last year, down from 20 in 2017.