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Thursday's Citizen featured an article titled: "Feds warn of 'fourth wave' in opioid crisis." We here in Cayuga County have been devastated by this epidemic and our families, neighbors and friends have been harmed in ways too complex to discuss here. The Heroin Epidemic Action League (HEAL) has been actively addressing these issues for four years in our community. Thankfully, due to our efforts and those of Nick's Ride 4 Friends, East Hill Medical's addiction medicine program led by Dr. Duckett, the active engagement of our school districts and the strides being made by Auburn Community Hospital, we are hopefully seeing a decline in over dose deaths in our community. However, we cannot become complacent.

Substance abuse disorder remains a major health crisis, new and dangerous synthetic drugs are being sold and used and drug related crime abounds. We have a long way to go and the organizations on the front lines need your support and attention to continue fighting for the lives of those sickened by this terrible disease. Please join us on Friday, Aug. 30, at Auburn City Hall for our observance of National Overdose Awareness Day. The program starts at 6:30 p.m. There will be a short walk around downtown, speakers, music by Perform 4 Purpose, a dove release, a candle light vigil followed by bag pipes. Bring your posters, pictures of loved ones banners and placards. Help us keep our community focused and aware of this problem. This event is free and open to all. We've come a long way but we have a long way to go. We need your continued support more than ever. Let's tell the fourth wave: NOT IN OUR COMMUNITY!

Lon Fricano

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Lon Fricano is president of HEAL.

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