GENESEO — The Livingston County Sheriff's Office announced that on Wednesday, the H.E.R.O (Heroin Education, Resisting Opiates) Program was provided to the youth of Livingston County.

This is the fourth year of presenting this program. The program continues to grow with seniors from every high school in Livingston County, and this year Wayland-Cohocton students as well.

This year's event took place at the Wadsworth Auditorium on the campus of SUNY Geneseo where approximately 700 students attended the program.

The goal of the program is to educate the students on the "real life" dangers of heroin and opiate use.

The program was moderated by Dansville High School Principal Tom Frazier. The students heard emotional and powerful presentations from a parent who lost a child to a heroin overdose, they heard directly from an inmate of the Livingston County Jail who is incarcerated and addicted to heroin and they had the opportunity to ask questions of the inmate with the Sheriff moderating, they also heard from the Dansville Central School drug and alcohol counselor on resources and statistics, and a mock ambulance call was simulated by the Livingston County EMS representing a heroin overdose.

Sheriff Dougherty would like to thank the school districts for their commitment to educate their students on the opiate crisis; the Dansville Central School District for their continued leadership role in the program; Livingston County EMS; the parents and family who allow their lost loved ones stories to be told; CASA-Trinity, the Livingston County Jail inmate who received zero compensation for telling his story; and SUNY Geneseo staff for their support and planning of the program.

The HERO program was initiated in 2016 by the Livingston County Sheriff's Office in conjunction with the Dansville Central School, CASA, and Livingston County EMS. To date approximately 1,700 students have received the HERO presentation.

"The heroin epidemic has no end in sight and recovering from this awful addiction is a life sentence but our hope is with this presentation they choose not to ever use," stated Sheriff Dougherty. "This program is one component of our comprehensive strategic plan to combat the epidemic but it is the single most important initiative. This isn't a scared straight program but instead a raw and real program that educates our youth on the lethal dangers through real life stories of folks right here in Livingston County. I thank all of our partners for their ongoing commitment to this program and I remind all addicts that there is help available. Please call the Sheriff's Office anytime at 243-7100 and we will get you set up with the appropriate services anytime of the day or the night."