Chautauqua County has been recognized by the United Nations for its efforts to battle drug addictions.

County Executive Paul Wendel discussed the issue, especially in rural counties, at the World Conference for a Drug-Free World. He said the struggles in Chautauqua County can come from how close it is to major cities.

"Unlike some policymakers, my commitment to combating drug abuse stems from firsthand experience," Wendel continued. "At the forefront of our efforts stands the Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene and Social Services," Wendel emphasized, detailing the department's multifaceted approach, including raising awareness, reducing stigma, forging partnerships with community organizations, and delivering accessible mental hygiene services."

Chautauqua County was honored with the "Ambassador for Peace Award" and the "Leadership Award."

"Our county's dedication to combating drug addiction is unwavering. Through strategic initiatives like the Chautauqua Substance Abuse Response Partnership and participation in the HEALing Communities Study, we are leading the charge against the opioid crisis. By leveraging federal support and fostering community collaboration, we are making meaningful strides in addressing substance use disorder and saving lives," said Wendel.