Heroin and opioid abuse has maintained a steady increase over the past several years, bringing the number of those looking for treatment to record highs. Now community leaders are looking to educate the public and their political representatives on how they can make a difference.

In a roundtable discussion hosted by Congressman William Keating, Reverend David Lima of the Greater New Bedford InterChurch Council says houses of worship are often the first responders for those looking for help for themselves or family members.

Other leaders from treatment and addiction centers weighed in on the issue, encouraging the public to educate themselves on how to address substance abuse and where to find treatment.

Congressman Keating called the roundtable another step towards a federal solution to the epidemic.