Opioid overdoses in Erie County will now be treated as crime scenes, local and federal law enforcement officials have announced.
The initiative calls for state and local law enforcement officers who respond to an overdose in Erie County to input certain information into the computers in their patrol cars and to follow protocols for the processing of overdose scenes.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office is partnering with the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, the New York-New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA), Buffalo Central Police Services, and the Erie County Chiefs Association, to implement the new protocols to combat drug dealing.
The information collected at overdose scenes also will be entered into the Overdose Detection Mapping Application (ODMAP), a national GPS mapping system that tracks overdoses, overdose deaths, and Narcan use.
James P. Kennedy Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York, said in a news release that standardizing the way overdose scenes are processed will improve the ability to prosecute dealers.
“At the same time, by simply tracking the location of non-fatal overdoses, we enhance the ability of treatment providers to reach those who are in the greatest need,” he said.
To date, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has prosecuted 16 defendants for distributing heroin and/or fentanyl which caused death or serious injury to 23 victims.
The Erie County District Attorney’s Office has also prosecuted one defendant for manslaughter in connection with an opioid related death.