STATEN ISLAND (WABC) --A new community effort on Staten Island aims to stomp out heroin addiction.
Over the past decade, heroin and opioid abuse treatment in New York has increased 40%.
So far this year, Staten Island has seen at least 46 heroin overdose deaths.
"Did you have anything in your system?" said Marco DiDonna, a volunteer.
DiDonna, 31, spends his day offering words of wisdom to heroin abusers and their loved ones. He knows what they're going through. After five overdoses, he's lucky to be alive.
"I stole from my family, I pawned jewelry, robbed, stole. I did everything. And every addict has been there. And I can identify with them personally," DiDonna said.
DiDonna's story is one of thousands on Staten Island where the scourge of heroin has infiltrated homes and schools, destroyed families and ended too many lives.
Governor Andrew Cuomo heard the horror stories during a heroin task force meeting Wednesday afternoon.
"The numbers in the increase in the number of deaths is staggering. This is a drug that is increasing like fire through dry grass," Governor Cuomo said.
The governor's task joint task force includes representatives from the assembly and the state senate. He wants recommendations and a plan of action by next Wednesday, with legislation soon thereafter.
"It's everywhere on Staten Island, from the south shore to the north shore, east shore, west shore, rich and poor, black and white, and young and old. We've had 18-year-olds and we've had 52-year-olds," said Michael McMahon, Richmond County District Attorney.
"I think we will have to take a very close look at the low end use of drugs, supply of drugs, the poisoning of drugs, some of what they are putting into the drugs. I think it will be part of the nation debate into this," said Bill Bratton, NYC Police Commissioner.