WXXI AM News

County Heroin Task Force focusing on collecting real-time data

Feb 7, 2018

Credit Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

A number of local officials gathered to present law enforcement's approach to the heroin epidemic Wednesday afternoon.

The Monroe County Heroin Task Force has adopted a new form for all police agencies in the county to fill out when responding to heroin and opioid overdoses. Their hope is that by collecting real-time data, they will be able to act more immediately.

Sheriff Todd Baxter says this data will be reviewed and distributed with help from the Monroe County Crime Analysis Center or MCAC.

"That means every morning at 0800, 8 o’ clock in the morning, we're having an intelligence briefing provided by MCAC, that’s telling the incident commander what occurred in the last 24-48 hours. Immediately following that, there’s a roll call that gives actual intelligence out to the people that are going to be deploying into our communities."

The structure of the task force also helps determine what problems should be handled by law enforcement, or instead by medical and community agencies.

County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo says real-time data is vital to tracking this epidemic and collaborating across agencies to fight it.

"Maybe somebody was picked up on the street but was not brought to the emergency room. Or somebody went to the emergency room but was not arrested, so when we collaborate and we share that type of data, we have an all-out assault on this terrible epidemic."

Credit Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

According to District Attorney Sandra Doorley, as of February 7th, there have been 112 heroin overdoses with 17 of them being fatal in 2018.

Doorley says this is an issue that won’t be solved by law enforcement alone.

"This data is also crucial identifying those who truly need help. Although my focus has been on enforcement, that is just one aspect of the task force. Treatment and prevention are also necessary if we're going to stop this crisis."

Doorley said they are focusing on putting suppliers in prison, rather than addicts and that they are discussing how this data will be shared with the public, but are hoping to provide numbers monthly. 

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