SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Schenectady County police say the heroin epidemic has grown so large the sheriff’s office wants to implement a full-time drug unit.
A syringe costs just 30 cents to gets your hands on at the pharmacy. Likewise, the sheriff says the cost of heroin has made the drug increasingly accessible to users.
So readily available, in fact, that just three weeks ago a video went viral of a Schenectady woman using at a public bus stop.
Robert Wyllie, a former addict, explains that individuals with this disease often become addicted when they are prescribed painkillers following an accident or injury. Wyllie says that addicts use “to fill the void.”
He continues to express the severity of the issue, “Three times while I was addicted, I overdosed.” The third time he overdosed, Wyllie was admitted into a recovery program.
“One minute, you’re there,” he says. “The next minute you’re waking up in an ambulance.”
The Schenectady Sheriff Dominic Dagostino says that law enforcement should be focused on the individuals who distribute the drug.
Schenectady County plans to set aside $400,000 to establish a new county-wide drug unit. They will focus primarily on getting everyday dealers off the street.
Within that unit there will be two new full-time investigators; a full-time inspector and a new assistant district attorney who will focus on prosecuting heroin dealers.
These resources are all dedicated to following leads, arresting dealers and prosecuting the perpetrators.
Sheriff Dagostino says a recent video of one woman shooting up heroin in broad daylight has drawn attention to the gravity of this situation.
The sheriff expects this new unit to be up and running by January 1, 2016. Before then, the county will have to approve this within their budget plans.
Sheriff Dagostino continues, “Ultimately, you always hope to go to the source.”
Wyllie says that the county is making a good effort, but it may not be enough. He explains that some people who are addicted, aren’t going to want to get clean. These individuals will simply find another distributor.