Elmira/Corning Regional Airport
Heroin Database Could Curb Usage
Written By: Tanja Rekhi
OWEGO (WENY) -- Senator Chuck Schumer is calling for a heroin database he thinks could give law enforcement and health professionals in New York a leg up fighting the drug. Data would monitor and track heroin-related hospitalizations and overdoses.
In Tioga County heroin usage is becoming a growing concern. Tioga County Sheriff Gary Howard says there's been a dramatic increase in usage just over the past few months. He thinks Senator Schumer's push for a statewide database is a step in the right direction.
"I think it's a big problem in lower New York," said Sheriff Howard.
Tioga County Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (TCCASA) is a non-profit organization working to prevent drug and alcohol usage.
Employee Brittney Cranet describes symptoms, "They can have a decrease in their motivation, from their everyday normal activities. They can become hostile more frequently, withdrawn from family and friends."
They're signs and symptoms that are becoming all too common in Tioga County.
"People are using it and it stops their heart stops their respiration and before anyone can get to them such as medical, EMS, they die," said Sheriff Howard.
According to Sheriff Howard, there have been five heroin-related deaths in the last five months. Before that his deputies were hearing talks of heroin making a comeback, but not a single death was reported.
"It's becoming an epidemic in the Southern Tier," said Sheriff Howard.
His deputies are taking to the streets and trying to curb the problem before it's too late. On March 4th they made eight arrests due to illegal drug use and distribution. At 75-77 North Ave. Apartment Number 1 Andrew Tucker, Dillon Steigler, Jennifer Charton and Anthony Tucker were arrested. A fifteen-year-old girl was also present, but released to her mother. At 64 Spencer Avenue Timothy Rider, Dakota Steigler and Alfred Thornton were arrested.
These incidents would be entered in the statewide heroin data base Senator Schumer is calling for. Sheriff Howard says it would help different agencies work together-- to get an idea where the heroin is coming from and what type is being sold.
"Any information is good information that we get. The problem is getting it in a lot of times is the hard part," said Sheriff Howard.
The Candor American Legion Post 907 is hosting a discussion by Sheriff Howard and District Attorney Kirk Martin on heroin and prescription drug abuse in the area on March 18 at 7:00 p.m. at the Candor High School Cafeteria.