ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The opioid crisis across the nation continues. Here at home, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Heroin Task Force is busy at work in the areas of education, prevention, treatment, and getting drugs off the streets.
Deputy Mike Favata with the Task Force says for the month of July, there were 35 reported overdoses and five deaths; So far in August, there have been four fatal overdoses.
“So, really on the fatal standpoint, we’re at the exact same mark we were as this time last year,” says Favata.
Historically, our numbers are lower than you might think, he explained. However, that low tally has a catch.
“But, a lot of this is unreported, [due to] the availability of Narcan,” he said.
Narcan is a nasal spray used when someone is overdosing. As it stops the effect of the drugs, the incident is then not usually reported.
“I think they’re putting 50 boxes, red boxes, throughout the community with Narcan in them,” says Favata.
Access can be out of reach for many, though.
“By the time we got there, he was already deceased, he was already moved,” Ashley Williams, the grandmother of six-month-old Denny Robinson, said. She says in the care of others, a nightmare happened, and now she wants answers.
According to Williams, Denny was taken to a house with drug users and, possibly, left to his own devices.
“(Denny) was found with a heroin bag in his mouth,” Williams said. “More than likely this will be a fentanyl overdose. He was only 6 months.”
The official cause of death of Denny Robinson is still being determined by the medical examiner’s office. According to RPD, the formal results could take months to receive.
Favata did not comment on this specific case, as it’s a Rochester Police Department investigation. He says they can arrest drug dealers all day long, but it doesn’t seem to put a dent in the crisis. Fatava believes that mitigating the opioid epidemic begins with educating younger people, and making sure resources are plentiful.
“If it’s you, if it’s your mom, dad, parent, guardian — whoever it may be who is battling addiction of any kind, talk to your prevention counselor or call me directly. We don’t document it, we’re not going to make a big deal about it,” he said. “Let’s get that person into treatment.”