Weekly Feature

2017-04-19 / Front Page

Mayor seeks to hold opioid forum

by HOLLY N. LIPKA Reporter

Williamsville Mayor Brian Kulpa plans to hold a forum with elected officials and recovery specialists on Thursday, April 27, in Village Hall, to discuss ways the village can get involved and help find solutions to the opioid crisis.

“We shouldn’t be scrambling on the back end,” Kulpa said. “This is still the leading killer of young people in a lot of places, and it’s also an issue we should be dealing with.”

Kulpa initiated the forum after hearing feedback from Amherst residents and town officials about a new location for the Sisters of Charity treatment health center, which will move from its existing location, 3730 Sheridan Drive, to 910 Millersport Highway.

The new location will allow Sisters of Charity to expand its treatment services, adding medication-assisted treatment. This may include the use of methadone, Vivitrol or Suboxone, depending on the patient. At the Town Board’s April 3 meeting, residents expressed their concerns for safety and the facility’s proximity to Garnet Park.

“Instead of being caught off guard, municipalities need to be better prepared and try to find solutions with problems like this,” Kulpa said. “I’m not as knowledgeable when it comes to drug treatment, and a lot of people aren’t, but the point is to work together to find the answers, even when it’s a struggle.”

Along with elected officials and recovery specialists, Kulpa also invited Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein to speak at the forum.

A time for the forum will be set after receiving confirmations from Burstein and other officials.

This isn’t the first time the village has held forums to find solutions. The village held a forum on land-use and smart-growth principles in 2014, as well as a forum on the value of historic preservation, which covered what business owners in the village could do to preserve their buildings in 2015.

“It’s an evolution of what we do,” Kulpa said. “We try to educate people, and the village has always tried to step forward as a leader to do what we can to help. I hope we, as a county, can step up and come up with some ideas.”

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