Broome County's drug epidemic could finally be showing signs of improvement. The district attorney announced there were no fatal overdoses in the month of May. Vince Briga caught up with him to find out why he thinks families are seeing some relief.
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- It's been an ongoing battle in Broome County over the past few years.
In 2016, 76 people died due to drug-related overdoses.
That number dropped to 66 last year.
But 2018 is finally bringing some good news.
The month of February and now the month of May saw no fatal overdoses for the first time in years.
"It's not over, and we're not saying to celebrate and everything is great but you have to at some point appreciate the hard work that everybody's put into this," said Steve Cornwell, Broome County District Attorney.
Part of that success comes from the wide variety of treatment options provided throughout the county.
Through programs like Operation SAFE, the district attorney works to find addicts treatment both locally and across the country.
"We're seeing the effects. We're just trying to help people help themselves so that they don’t obviously end up dead, they don’t ruin their lives, their family's lives and they can be productive members of society," said Cornwell.
But district attorney Steve Cornwell says that isn't always easy.
When given the option to seek treatment or go to jail, some addicts actually choose the latter.
"You can open up a 500 bed facility tomorrow, but the trick is to get people in a place where they're ready to go to treatment," said Cornwell.
In the past two and a half years, the district attorney's office has helped nearly 1,000 people into treatment throughout the county.
Currently there are more than 100 people in drug court.
"It's rewarding. We wouldn’t do it if it didn't work. People on the outside may not see what we see. It does work. There's a lot of hard work. It's an effort that requires everybody's hard work and attention," said Cornwell.
The D.A. hopes to continuing adding programs, until the overdose number drops to 0.
He plans to release the full number of fatal overdoses for the first half of the year by the 4th of July.