STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Overdosed, Part 1: Law enforcement fight opioid epidemic

These days, police officers don’t just carry a gun and a badge – they carry a potentially life-saving opioid antidote called Narcan, and they have to use it a lot more frequently than they use their guns.

Posted: Feb 27, 2018 2:47 PM

These days, police officers don’t just carry a gun and a badge – they carry a potentially life-saving opioid antidote called Narcan, and they have to use it a lot more frequently than they use their guns.

Law enforcement and other emergency responders have a front-row seat to the savagery of the opioid epidemic.

“I think heroin is just coming back around from the older days,” said Investigator Mark Chrysler. “The problem is I think people forgot what it does to the body"

Chrysler grew up in a law enforcement family, but not even having a father who spent 44 years as a police officer could prepare him for the ugly underbelly of the opioid epidemic.

“One time was in the bedroom next to an infant that was in a playpen and the person was unresponsive,” Chrysler said.

More than once while on patrol for the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office, Chrysler used Narcan to bring heroin and opioid users from the brink of death – sometimes more than once in the same day.

"They got released from the hospital, couple hours later, overdosed again at a different location. Ended up using Narcan a second time,” Chrysler said.

And where meth makers might stock up on cold meds, heroin makers will stock up on plastic baggies.

"The users will cut out the actual corner of a small, plastic bag after they put the substance in it,” said Investigator Frederick Peck.

The drugs Chrysler would take off the streets, Investigator Frederick Peck would analyze.

It’s something the Tru Narc – a $25,000 substance reader the Sheriff’s Office got about a year ago – makes much easier. They just have to point it at the baggie.

And as if the opioid epidemic didn’t have enough of a strangle hold on Central New York, the opioid pain medication Fentanyl came on the scene like a fatal flurry.

"Fentanyl is 100 times more powerful than morphine,” Peck said.

It’s not a city problem. Fentanyl-laced heroin killed two people within weeks in rural Otsego County in 2016.

It’s also ravaging the Oneida County Jail – and you’re paying for it.

“If you asked me three or four years ago, are you going to be half a million dollars over in overtime because of a heroin epidemic, I’d say that you were crazy,” said Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol. “But obviously it's here and it's out of control.”

How are they smuggling the heroin into the Oneida County Jail? That’s in part two of Overdosed in the Mohawk Valley, coming up in the NEWSChannel 2 Live at Five Newshour.

From 4-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, we'll also have a phone number people can call to speak to local experts and have their questions answered, along with a live web chat. You can call 315-624-0325, or join the live chat at wktv.com/news/opioidcrisis.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 418928

Reported Deaths: 32756
CountyConfirmedDeaths
New York City22691423563
Suffolk436301998
Nassau435342194
Westchester361071447
Rockland13918674
Orange11127491
Erie8737671
Monroe4868285
Dutchess4582153
Onondaga3535200
Albany2565128
Oneida2117115
Ulster204591
Sullivan148548
Niagara147098
Putnam144463
Broome109469
Schenectady105037
Rensselaer75830
Saratoga74717
Columbia53437
Madison40917
Ontario35534
Warren30433
Orleans29754
Steuben29742
Fulton29124
Greene29018
Genesee2745
Herkimer2684
St. Lawrence2634
Washington25614
Oswego2513
Wayne2493
Chautauqua2449
Tompkins2320
Chenango2126
Tioga19325
Livingston1738
Montgomery1694
Chemung1653
Cattaraugus1646
Cayuga1512
Jefferson1400
Clinton1274
Otsego1155
Wyoming1155
Delaware1044
Cortland940
Seneca863
Allegany781
Schoharie690
Yates567
Essex550
Franklin520
Lewis390
Schuyler220
Hamilton80
Unassigned00
Utica
Overcast
78° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 80°
Oneonta
Overcast
73° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 73°
Herkimer
Overcast
78° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 80°
Thendara
Overcast
78° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 80°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
Click here to learn more about A Healthier Mohawk Valley
Ask EPLC Sweepstakes
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve
Senior Send-Off brought to you by Herkimer College
WKTV Golf Card - Under 150 left