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News & Media

DeGraff Sponsors Community Conversation to Help Prevent Opiate Overdose

Released: 5/25/2018

DeGraff Memorial Hospital (DeGraff) partnered with the City of Tonawanda, KISS 98.5, WBEN 930AM, and the Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) to provide a two-hour candid conversation about opioids in our community.

On May 23, 2018, DeGraff joined forces with the Tonawanda community to take a strong, proactive role in addressing the current epidemic of the opioid drug overdose by hosting a discussion for the public. The discussion was led by local individuals who have personal experiences with drug addictions, affected families and medical experts.

Joshua Lynch, DO, director of emergency medicine at DeGraff, served on the expert panel at the event. Dr. Lynch has taken an active role in speaking about this epidemic due to the increasing number of overdose victims that present to our local hospital emergency rooms.

“From 2016 through 2017, Emergency Department visits have increased by 30 percent. On average, over 100 people die every day from an opioid overdose,” said Dr. Lynch. “Our country is in crisis, and we need to provide resources for addicts, their families and providers. It is imperative that DeGraff and partners within the community bring this awareness to the forefront.”

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United States is in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic. Opioids (including prescription opioids, heroin, and fentanyl) killed more than 42,000 people in 2016.

“We need to strengthen the understanding of this epidemic within our communities,” stated Kristen Jopp, coordinator of the Community Opioid Conversation. She added, “We need to focus on the prevention, treatment and recovery of every individual it affects.”

You can hear the audio from the community conversation at Tonawanda High School on WBEN 930 AM:

For more information regarding prevention, opioid abuse and addiction, visit