ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. ( WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – Earlier this week the Oneida County Overdose Response Team issued a spike alert after 7 heroin and cocaine overdoses and a Public Health Alert regarding minors overdosing on marijuana and pills. Eyewitness News spoke with Sheriff Robert Maciol about what this means and where law enforcement will go from here.
“We do that for a couple of reasons the spike alerts obviously if a family is out there and has a family member that is currently fighting addiction let’s say with heroin and if there’s a bad batch of heroin coming through the community we specifically want to make NARCAN on hand so if a person in their family is fighting the addiction issue they have NARCAN to save overdose,” said Maciol.
The alert is also put in place so that users of heroin or other drugs are aware that there is a bad batch laced with a significant amount of fentanyl in the area. The Sheriff explains that when it comes to the overdoses there are test kits to tell if some drugs are laced with fentanyl.
“We use those for our officer safety purposes, but I don’t know as though that is the right thing to be doing for someone who is using heroin to see if it’s good heroin or not, I struggle with that one,” said Maciol.
Sheriff Maciol says that we should be focusing on getting users into treatment programs, educating children on the dangers before they become users and making arrests when appropriate.
“We cant arrest ourselves out of this problem but it’s still part of what we do,” said Maciol.
However, Maciol says that when someone is dealing with an addiction issue the overall goal of law enforcement is to save those in need. i
“If someones on the ground and they’re overdosing we’re going to use NARCAN to save their life that someone is a mother father son daughter brother sister our job is to save lives our job is not to judge that person that’s not who we are or what we do,” said Maciol.