Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and District Attorney Anthony Scarpino, Jr. announced the formation of a joint task force to address the region’s growing heroin and opioid epidemic Thursday.
Astorino and Scarpino said members of the County Department of Public Safety would serve on the task force alongside prosecutors and criminal investigators from the District Attorney’s Office. The Westchester County Intelligence Center, established by the District Attorney’s Office in 2008, will dedicate three analysts to assist the task force in compiling, analyzing and reporting on statistical and evidentiary trends and patterns.
In addition, Astorino and Scarpino said the task force would work closely with local police departments to combat illegal heroin and opioid trafficking through enhanced intelligence gathering and coordinated investigations, arrests, and prosecutions.
“It’s not enough to put our best resources into the fight against opioid addiction,” Astorino said. “They must be coordinated and that’s the idea behind the task force — to have Public Safety, the District Attorney, and local police all working together to get illegal opioids off the streets and arrest and prosecute the people selling them.”
Opioid fatalities in Westchester County increased more than 200 percent from 2010 to 2015.
“This epidemic is destroying too many of our young people and tearing families apart,” Scarpino said. “This task force will vigorously investigate and prosecute the suppliers in an effort to reduce the number of overdoses. At the same time, we will continue to support alternatives to incarceration for those who are willing to get the help they need.”
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