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Cuomo to fight heroin epidemic
Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced a plan to try and fight the heroin epidemic in New York. It includes putting more investigators on the street, making the heroin antidote drug naloxone available to all first responders, and increasing education about heroin at state college campuses.
"Heroin abuse has increased quite a bit over the last two or three years, to the point where it's an epidemic," said Captain William McEvoy, with CNET, the New York State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team.
CNET has five teams across New York, one in the Capital Region. The teams work to get drugs and drug traffickers off the street and help local police with drug and gun investigations.
On Wednesday, Governor Cuomo announced that 100 more investigators will be added to CNET to help battle the heroin epidemic.
"These resources and these people allow us to focus more on heroin. Because aside from heroin, we also deal with marijuana, we deal with methamphetamine, we deal with cocaine," said Captain McEvoy.
Inspector Jennifer Fila is with the UAlbany Police Department. She said the department has seen a slight increase in heroin related issues and expects that to continue. In March the department took advantage of training on how to use the heroin antidote.
"We sent six of our sworn member to that training to then be able to come back and offer the training to the rest of the sworn members here," said Inspector Fila.
That gets them ahead of the Governor's effort to push more education and training out to SUNY campuses. He wants University Police and health centers trained on the heroin antidote drug, Resident Assistant's trained on signs of opioid abuse and heroin awareness to be part of student orientation.
Inspector Fila says UAlbany has a drug recognition officer on staff. He has already done some training with RA's and staff. She said that will continue.
"As a law enforcement agency, enforcement is part of our mission. But education, as a university law enforcement agency, education is one of our paramount goals," said Inspector Fila.
McEvoy said that is essential. He said it will take more than law enforcement to fight this drug problem.
"If we don't teach all our students from grade school to college, the dangers of heroin, and the fact that using heroin once can result in death, we're going to lose a good portion of a promising generation," said Captain William McEvoy.