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Covering the Crisis

Covering the Crisis

FOX 40 is providing ongoing coverage of the heroin epidemic in the Southern Tier. In addition to our series, The Faces of Heroin, an in depth series exploring the heroin crisis from the perspective of addicts, parents, and first responders, we will be continuing our coverage with additional insight and news.

One of the principal causes of heroin addiction is an addiction to pain pills. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2004 70,000 people who were dependent on pain medications used heroin. By 2010 that number had jumped to 266,000. Tracing the path from pills to heroin is one of the most important elements of this epidemic to understand.

We spoke with parents and police that give advice on keeping kids off heroin. 

"I always tell parents, 'Get rid of the notion that your kids have privacy.' If they're in your house they don't have privacy. Know who they're talking to, what their Facebook password is, what their phone password is. Look at their text messages. If they're at a party, show up unexpectedly," said Captain Patrick Garey of the New York State Police.

In our Faces of Heroin series, we speak with people who have survived the addiction, like Shane Smith, a former Division I football player. Smith has been in recovery for two years and is currently a youth football coach and father, with another child on the way.

“This drug takes the rich, poor, young, old; everyone can be a victim to heroin”

Shane started using heroin after becoming addicted to pills he was given for a football injury. He was able to keep the addiction private from family for some time. We spoke with his family to find out what it was like to discover he was using. We also talk with his sister and brother-in-law about finding Shane when he overdosed.

Shane helps us see:
• How he came from a supportive and faith-based home, but still fell victim to addiction.
• How the drug made him do unpleasant things; such as lying and stealing.
• How he now wants to teach the youth he is surrounded by to not follow the same path.

This is Shane Smith's story:

We talk with Bonnie, who has been in recovery for four months and was a user for several years. Bonnie has a history of drugs and addiction beyond heroin. 

People question, "Why don't users just go for help?" The answer is that help isn't always so easy to receive.

Bonnie video journals her experiences and provides us with an intimate look at the struggles of recovery.

Im the first entry in Bonnie's video journal, It's Me, Bonnie, entered October 22, 2015, we'll see Bonnie's struggle with addiction and living life as a recovering heroin addict.

To view all the entire playlist, click on the YouTube video or click here.

We spoke with Penny Stringfield about losing her son, John, earlier this year. We see how heroin tears families apart. Our conversations led us to understand the struggles that you face as a parent of a heroin addict. We take a look at the difference between enabling vs. loving, as well as signs that your child might be using.

In addition, we have exclusive footage from law enforcement, parents, and emergency personnel to give you the best possible look at one of the most important issues facing our community.

FOX 40 also had the opportunity to ride along with local Fire, EMS and Police and get their perspective on this growing epidemic. Get an inside look at how first responders are saving lives and how local police are trying to get heroin off the streets. Get an exclusive look at this battle in our community.


There are more devices than ever to help prevent overdoses. For instance, there is a new talking device for these overdose situations.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, heroin-related overdoses have quadrupled since 2002 with more than 8,200 people dying in 2013. 

EVZIO, a talking naloxone product, is a prescription medication believed to reverse opioid effects in overdose situations until emergency personnel arrives. 

For a complete list of all FOX 40 HD News stories on the heroin epidemic in our area, click here.

If you or someone you love needs help with addiction, please see the following links.