Law enforcement in Steuben County describe the heroin epidemic in the county as an explosion.
“We’ve seen heroine from time to time, but never like this,” Steuben County District Attorney, Brooks Baker said.
Heroin related overdoses are hitting home in Steuben County more in the last six months than ever before.
“This is hitting sort of an 18 to 30’s age group. [It’s] killing people at a time when they shouldn’t be dying,” Baker said.
“We’re seeing it in different levels of culture where we haven’t seen it before and that obviously raises a new concern for where it may be headed to,” Steuben County Undersheriff, Jim Allard said.
Coupled with existing laws and new proposed state legislation, law enforcement authorities are hunting down heroin drug dealers who are linked to overdoses and bringing them to justice for destroying parts of our community.
“There’s all kinds of investigative techniques we are going to use. We are going to attempt to use technology to our advantage and back track through interviews and all kinds of investigative techniques that we can bring to bear to try to track down where the heroin came from or where the opioids originally came from,” Undersheriff Allard said.
Previously, a dealer would be charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance and that’s only if the dealer was found. Often times, an overdose would be ruled an accidental death and that’s where the investigation would end. Not anymore: “We would look to charge them with homicide or Manslaughter on top of the drug sale charge,” Baker said.
The District Attorney says it’s not an accident. Drug dealers know how dangerous heroin is.
“Heroin is a drug where you can use it once and die,” Baker said.
Baker hopes this plan will help reduce the amount of heroin related deaths similar to the way the crackdown on drunk driving has helped reduced alcohol car accidents in the area over the years.