Residents and elected officials have been rightly concerned about the disturbing increase in use of heroin and a number of heroin-related tragedies and deaths in recent months.
Rensselaer County has not been immune to what some health and law enforcement experts describe as an “epidemic” of heroin use. The county has seen many arrests, overdoses and sadly, deaths, from use of the dangerous drug. The county has continued an active dialogue and collaboration with police and health professionals in attempt to curb heroin abuse.
One important component of the county’s fight against heroin use has been the county Drug Task Force. The task force has been active in rooting out major sellers and distributors of the drug, along with other dangerous narcotics, and working with local law enforcement to develop leads and make arrests.
The drug task force was funded by the Operation IMPACT grant from the state, which unfortunately expires in July 2014. The expiration of the grant could have resulted in an end to the task force and the work of two special investigators.
Thankfully, efforts came together to find funding to keep the task force in operation. Vice Chair of the Legislature Stan Brownell and Legislator Lester Goodermote strongly advocated for continuing the task force and drummed up support for a resolution filed by County Executive Jimino to provide county funding to bridge the gap created by the expiration of the Operation IMPACT grant.
The resolution passed unanimously, and allows the two investigators to now work at the county Sheriff’s Department. The county will also work to obtain grant funding from the state and federal levels to continue the important work by these investigators.