Impact of opioid crisis felt at Ontario County Sheriff's Office
Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero has presented his final annual report, before he retires at the end of the year.
And he says there wasn't a lot of good news for 2017.
He says the opioid epidemic is having a big impact on daily operations for law enforcement.
"It has a day-to-day impact on the performance and the duties of our personnel. In the law enforcement division, in our corrections division, and in our 9-1-1 divisions," he says.
Povero says with the synthetic drug fentanyl easily accessible, the problem of narcotics abuse is growing.
"Fentanyl is a man-made opiate which continues to come into our area, and is becoming quite dominant in the types of drugs that we're seeing, distributed here in Ontario County, and used by persons with that particular addiction," he said.
Povero says fentanyl is far more deadly than heroin, and overall there has been a steady increase in drug overdose deaths the past three years in Ontario County.
They're still waiting for some toxicology reports, but in 2017 Povero says there were around 35 deaths last year.
Among other things, he says the Sheriff's Office is working on prevention education in schools, and the jail is working to provide addiction recovery assistance to a large number of inmates addicted to drugs.
He notes law enforcement officers have also saved lives by using the anti-overdose drug Narcan.
But overall, Povero says since fentanyl is easily accessible, he expects the overall problem of narcotic addiction will get worse before it gets better.
"Substance abuse, addiction, (and related) issues is the number one problem facing public health and public safety in Ontario County today," he said.