drugs

Monday, September 11, 2017 at 11:57 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, news, Attica, drugs.
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       Kara Baker

An Attica woman was arrested Sept. 7 following a five-month investigation into alleged drug sales in the Village of Attica.

Members of the Wyoming County Drug Task Force, Village of Attica Police, Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office, and a New York State Police K-9 unit converged on Kara Baker’s Lincoln Avenue home around 6:30 p.m. Sept. 7. During the search, officer’s say they found a large quantity of suspected cocaine, controlled substances and drug paraphernalia.

Additionally, a child younger than 16 years old was in the home during the search, prompting an endangerment charge.

Baker, 44, of Attica, was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree and endangering the welfare of a child.

Officials say additional felony charges are imminent. She is also accused of selling cocaine and other controlled substance out of her home over the past five months.

She was put in Wyoming County Jail in lieu of $25,000 cash bail.

The Drug Task Force includes members from the Sheriff’s Office, and the Arcade, Attica, Perry, and Warsaw police departments.

The DTF reminds residents that suspected illegal drug activity can be reported to the confidential drug tip line (585) 786-8965.

Friday, August 11, 2017 at 3:44 pm

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) supports President Donald Trump’s announcement that he will declare a national emergency on opioid abuse:

“I stand with President Trump in recognizing the extreme severity of the opioid crisis in America and applaud the steps being taken to find solutions to this devastating problem. Far too many lives have been lost and we have seen firsthand the tragedy that so many families in Western New York and across America face.”

Collins is a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee that crafted the 21st Century Cures Act, which provided $1 billion in grants to address the crisis. Of those funds, $25.3 million was awarded to New York State. In May 2016, Collins voted in favor of 18 bills that address addiction among our veterans, to babies infected with this disease, to current pain management best practices.

“I applaud (New Jersey) Gov. (Chris) Christie and his team for their diligent work in finding solutions for treatment and prevention. Opioid addiction can impact anyone, and we will continue to combat this crisis as a team because more needs to be done."

As a member of the Health and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittees, Collins has participated in six subcommittee hearings discussing the government and states responses to the crisis, fentanyl, and professional and academic perspectives.

For more information on the work of the Energy and Commerce Committee on opioids, click here.

Friday, August 4, 2017 at 3:35 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, drugs, Warsaw, news.
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      Wendell Fuqua       Raven Houston

Two Rochester residents were arrested Tuesday evening after allegedly selling suspected crack cocaine in the parking lot at McDonald’s in Warsaw.

Wyoming County Drug Task Force members say, Wendell Fuqua, 35, is accused of selling seven “rocks” of suspected crack cocaine to a person that had been under surveillance by the DTF.

Raven Houston, 23, was also charged, as she was the driver of the vehicle that Fuqua was a passenger in.

Both were charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, both are Class B felonies.

Fuqua was put in Wyoming County Jail without bail. Houston is being held in lieu of $10,000 cash bail.

Task Force members were assisted at the scene by the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police and the Warsaw Police Department.

The Wyoming County DTF includes members from the Sheriff’s Office, and the Arcade, Attica, Perry and Warsaw Police departments.

Suspected illegal drug activity can be reported to the confidential drug tip line at (585) 786-8965.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017 at 1:50 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, news, Perry, drugs.
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     Dustin Kish   Justin Washburn

Two Allegany County men were arrested on drug charges following a traffic stop in Perry shortly after midnight July 5.

Justin Washburn, of Belmont, and Dustin Kish, of Caneadea, no age provided for either man, were arrested following a traffic stop on Walker Road in the Village of Perry for inadequate brake lights.

Perry Police say hypodermic needles were in plain view inside the vehicle, which prompted a search of it.

A license check allegedly showed that Kish’s license is revoked in New York. Additionally, he is accused of being in possession of heroin.

Kish was charged with: operating a motor vehicle with inadequate stop lamps; unlicensed operator of a motor vehicle; aggravated unlicensed operator in the third degree; aggravated unlicensed operator in the second degree; operating a motor vehicle without an interlock device; criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument; and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree. He was arraigned in Perry Village Court and put in Wyoming County Jail in lieu of $2,000 cash bail.

Washburn was charged with criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument. He was jailed on $200 cash bail.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 at 2:45 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, Attica, drugs, news.

The third inmate charged in smuggling drugs into the Wyoming County Correctional Facility was sentenced last week in Wyoming County Court.

Jerry McLamore, 31, was sentenced to two-and-one-half to five years in prison for the charge of promoting prison contraband in the first degree. He was also sentenced to an unconditional discharge for conspiracy in the fifth degree. The sentence will run consecutively to his current prison term.

He was found guilty March 29 after a four-day non-jury trial before Judge Michael M. Mohun. 

On May 31, an indictment was unsealed charging three Wyoming Correctional inmates, McLamore, Otis Williams, 29, and Lionell Jones, 30, along with two visitors, Lonniqua Williams, 30, and Jameelah Masaed, 29, both of Buffalo, in connection with attempts to smuggle drugs into the facility.

Otis pled guilty Aug. 10, and Jones pled guilty Oct. 5, to attempted promoting prison contraband in the first degree, a Class E felony. Each were sentenced to one-and-one-half to three years in prison. The sentences are to run consecutively to their current terms.

Lonniqua Williams and Massaed pled guilty Aug. 8 to conspiracy in the fifth degree. Lonniqua was sentenced to a one-year conditional discharge, plus fees and surcharges. Massaed was sentenced to a one year conditional discharge and fees.

“This case underscores the difficult task that prison officials and investigators face in shutting down these complicated and well-designed drug conspiracies,” said Wyoming County District Attorney Donald O’Geen. “With the use of their phone privileges, unauthorized three-way calling with their friends and relatives, and the unbelievable amount of contact visits that they have while in prison, the inmates and their conspirators are allowed to create a network of drug smuggling.”

On the money side of the conspiracy, money transfer companies allow individuals to send money to one another with fake names and without a valid photo ID when sending or receiving money via wire transfer, says O’Geen. This kind of unregulated money transfer allows the money to travel in one circle of conspirators while the drugs travel in a completely and seemingly unrelated different circle of conspirators.

“Prosecution of these types of cases promotes a safer prison setting for corrections staff and all the others that are within the system. I am proud of the work that my office has done in the past year trying to aggressively send a message that we stand with DOCCS (Department of Corrections and Community Services) in combating this growing drug problem in our prisons.”

Last year, 13 drug conspiracies involving a minimum of 34 defendants – both inmates and visitors – were prosecuted in Wyoming County. These cases involved synthetic marijuana, Suboxone, heroin, cocaine, marijuana, weapons and other contraband.

“While heroin and heroin laced with fentanyl can be the most deadly for the inmates, it is the synthetic marijuana that creates the biggest risk to the safety of corrections staff as the synthetic marijuana is nothing like marijuana at all.”

O’Geen says he’s likely to see two things happen when it comes to the drug issue: (A) an analog statute that mirrors the federal law concerning synthetic drugs and (B) a statue that makes it clear that any drugs found within a correctional facility are dangerous contraband and should be a felony-level crime.

See related: Three people sentenced in prison drug smuggling case

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at 3:40 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, news, drugs.

Complaints of drug activity at Bone Yard Auto in Dansville date back to 1997. On Friday, the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office, the New York State Police, and the DEA arrested three individuals on possessing and selling methamphetamine in Livingston County.

The arrests were made following search warrants at two separate locations in the county – one at the scrap yard in Dansville and the other at the home of one of the defendants in West Sparta.

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      Kenneth Hoag       Kurt Redance

Kenneth Hoag, 55, of Dansville, Kurt Redance, 26, of West Sparta, and Andrew J Culliton, 37, of West Seneca, were all charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree (meth) and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree (meth), both are Class B felonies.

In addition to the charges in Livingston County, the three men, along with Brandie Schumacher, 37, of Rose, were also charged in U.S. District Court.

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Brandie Schumacher      Andrew J Culliton

Schumacher was recently arrested in Wyoming County on drug charges following a traffic stop on Route 20A in Sheldon April 1. She was jailed in the Wyoming County Jail on $50,000 cash bail. 

In District Court, the four were charged with possession with intent to distribute and distribution of meth, and conspiracy to possess and distribute methamphetamine. The charges carry a minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life, and a fine of $10 million. Additionally, Redance and Hoag were charged with maintaining a drug involved premises. 

Redance also faces a charge of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of meth on a premises where a child was located. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Katelyn M. Hartford says, according to the complaint, each of the defendants sold meth to a confidential source at the scrap yard, Redance’s home, and at a parking lot in West Seneca. Additionally, during at least one of the controlled purchases at Redance’s home, his 3-year-old child was allegedly present.

Redance, Schumacher, and Culliton are all being held in custody. Hoag was released to home detention with electronic monitoring.

Thursday, March 23, 2017 at 2:55 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, Eagle, Warsaw, drugs.

Two Town of Eagle residents are facing numerous drug-related charges following a joint investigation between the Wyoming County Jail and Sheriff’s Office Road divisions.

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     Melissa M. Preen

Melissa M. Preen, 25, was stopped on Route 19, Warsaw, for an inspection violation. Deputies say she was driving while her license was suspended from the Town of Castile Court. Additionally, she allegedly showed signs of drug use. Following a roadside investigation and field sobriety testing, she was arrested on suspicion of driving while impaired by drugs. 

She was taken to the county jail for a breath test, while being searched by corrections officers, Preen was allegedly found to be concealing numerous hypodermic needles, drug paraphernalia, cocaine and heroin on her person “in a concealed area.”

Preen then submitted to a drug influence evaluation by a certified drug recognition expert, who alleges she was impaired by the use of multiple substances. 

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     Richard Gargula

Additionally, officials say she was in possession of the drugs with the intent to sell them to Richard Gargula. Gargula was incarcerated in the Wyoming County Jail at the time of the incident.

Preen was charged with numerous vehicle and traffic violations: aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree; driving while ability impaired by a drug; driving while ability impaired by the combination of drugs; criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument; and introduction of dangerous contraband into a jail in the first degree, a Class D felony; and two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree with intent to sell, a Class B felony. 

She was put in Wyoming County Jail on $5,000 cash bail or $10,000 bond. 

Gargula, 33, was charged March 19 with criminal solicitation in the fourth degree. He is accused of soliciting Preen to commit the felony of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree.

Due to Gargula being an inmate at the time of his arrest, his personal belongings were searched by jail staff. Officials say a narcotic preparation was found within his clothing. Subsequently, he was also charged with introduction of dangerous contraband in the first degree, a Class D felony, and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree – more than 500 mgs. of cocaine, a Class D felony. 

He was jailed on $1,000 cash bail or $2,000 bond for the solicitation charge, and $10,000 cash bail or $20,000 bond for the felony charges. 

Both are due in court at a later date.

Friday, March 10, 2017 at 6:09 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, Perry, heroin, opioids, education, drugs.

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The pain in Avi Israel’s voice was evident as he described his son Michael’s spiraling decent into addiction and subsequent death. 

“Michael died at 20 years old. You see, my son suffered from Crohn’s disease. It was very painful for him. When he was 18, he was prescribed narcotics to deal with the pain, the Xanax was to help him cope with anxiety issues, as well as various other drugs for depression,” Israel said. “The medical community didn’t really know too much about addiction back then… Not a day that goes by…that I don’t miss my kid.”

Students from Perry Central School – seventh through 12th grade –  sat in rapt attention earlier this week as Israel spoke of his son and his struggle with addiction. The program was sponsored by Perry Rotary Club, with the support of the Perry Police Department, and the Wyoming County District Attorney’s Office. 

“We have a safety committee and the chief (Perry PD) gave us information about the statistics of opioid use,” said Middle/High School Principal Becky Belkota. “And we’ve seen the articles and the like, and it’s something we want to get ahead of…prevention as oppose to reaction. We wanted to give an insight to addiction, not just heroin.”

The question is asked: “How many of you know someone who died because of addiction?” 

The majority of students in attendance raised their hands.

“Addiction is how you get there (dead). If you’re aware of the pitfalls; maybe you’ll be a little more cautious.

“There has been a four-fold increase in addiction since 1999. When you think of an addict or a junkie, what do you think of?… You may think of the dirty strung-out man hanging out on a street corner… Does my son look like that to you?… Addiction doesn’t discriminate.”

Opioids are a prescription form of heroin, Israel says, and “said to be more intense than heroin.”

“It’s a selfish addiction. You may be doing it to yourself, but you are hurting everyone else. There are more than 100,000 tombstones related to opioid deaths in this country.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “overdose deaths involving prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999…From 1999 to 2015, more than 183,000 people have died in the United States from overdoses related to prescription opioids.”

Today, nearly half of all opioid overdose deaths nationwide involve a prescription opioid. More than 15,000 people died from overdoses involving prescription opioids in 2015, the most recent data available.

Between November and December Perry law enforcement has responded to four heroin/opioid overdoses. All were saved by using Narcan, which is the brand name for the generic drug naloxone, which is a medication used to block the effects of opioids, especially in overdoses. (Intravaneously, it works in two minutes and when injected into muscle, it works within five minutes.)

However, in the last year, the village has one confirmed death due to overdose, Police Chief Mike Grover says. Just recently there were three overdoses in Perry. In all three of the incidents naloxone was administered. In two of the incidents, the victim was revived. In the third incident, the victim was unable to be saved. The irony of these three victims, two of the overdoses happened to the same person in the span of a week. During the second overdose, he succumbed to the drugs.

In Warsaw, Chief of Police Pete Hoffmeister says there have been 10 overdoses in the past year, with two ending up in deaths. While naloxone was used to save eight of those who overdosed, two were dead before law enforcement arrived. Of those 10, two were in September, two in October, and two in December – as of Dec. 30. The youngest person they encountered was 17 years old and the oldest 55.

Nationwide, every 17 minutes someone dies from an opioid overdose. About two years ago, there were 100 deaths in Erie County. In 2015, it more than doubled. In 2016, that number could reach over 500. That’s about 10 per week. February alone recorded 23 overdose deaths in just one week.

In Wyoming County, between 2010 and 2014 the number of opioid-related emergency department admissions increased 47.6 percent – 42 and 62. The number of opioid-related inpatient hospital admissions rose from 61 to 91 respectively – a 49.2-percent increase. 

During that same time period, those who were admitted for treatment for any opioid in Western New York was 7,679 in 2010. By 2014, the number of people seeking treatment rose by almost a third – 10,154 – a 32-percent increase.

Across the state, those in treatment for heroin use was 55,900 in 2010; in 2014, the number was 77,647. Deaths across the state due to heroin overdose increased 163 percent (215 in 2008, and 637 in 2013) and opioid overdoses increased 30 percent (763 to 952).

Six years ago, Wyoming County didn’t see a heroin issue in the county as much as today. Deputies say they’ve dealt with the drug 30 to 35 times in 2016. The county saw five deaths related to heroin overdoses and 26 overdose incidents law enforcement knows about that are from opioids.

“If this was the flu, we’d all be under quarantine,” Israel said. “Since it’s not the flu, people look at those who are addicts as…they did it to themselves.

“When you think of the word addict, what comes to mind? Someone sleeping in the street? A loser? Those who have lost someone…did they look like losers? They are not the picture of what addiction looks like today.”

Israel says roughly 10 percent of people have an addiction. A misnomer is that to be an addict, one had to use every day. An addict is when you do use, you have difficulty controlling it.

“You don’t have to have cravings to have an addiction,” Israel said. “Addiction isn’t about how easy it is to use. It’s how easy it is to stop.”

Michael suffered with a lot of pain because of Crohn's disease, which is commonly found at the end of the small intestine where it joins the beginning of the large intestine, is when the digestive or gastrointestinal tract is chronically inflamed.The first prescription he was given for pain relief was hydrocodone – an addictive narcotic, especially to a young person, Israel says.

“In 2010, Michael told me he was addicted to his pain pills. In January 2011, we went to the doctor and he told them he was an addict. They told him they had it under control… Michael died June 4, 2011. It took six months before Michael died. That’s how quick an addiction can grab you. He couldn’t kick his habit. He couldn’t let go. I kept asking him…'Michael, why don’t you just quit?’ "

Israel cautions the students, telling them an addiction at their age is “deadly and it’s your life.” 

“Your brain is still developing…It’s like combining peanut butter and jelly and stirring it all together then trying to separate it. It doesn’t happen.”

According to officials, you may be more prone to addiction if you have a family history of addiction. But family history and genetics do not negate the company you keep. 

“Addiction robbed me of my kid,” Israel said. “I blame myself… partly because I didn’t know enough about addiction. I knew everything about Crohn’s disease. But I didn’t know about addiction… It robs you of everything you hold dear; everything you love goes away. Your friends – when you start acting like a jerk – will go away. Your family starts not inviting you to get-togethers.

“Micheal came up to me one time; he needed a hug. I found it hard because I just thought he was destroying our family. It wasn't because I didn't love him. It's because I didn't understand his addiction.”

When your brain only focuses on one thing you become incapable of making even the simplest decisions, Israel says. Once you get into this kind of addiction it doesn't let go. The only escape is to use again, but you fall deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole. And sometimes, you lose the fight.

“I can't stress how important it is to not start with anything. Don't give into peer pressure. I cannot impress upon you how painful it is to lose someone you love. It is one of the worst pains I have ever experienced. And still feel.

“I miss my son so bad it keeps me up at night. The pain just cuts me like a knife. Think of that pain you'd inflict to your parents if something happened to you. My three daughters miss their brother. They don't talk very much about it. At the holidays there is always an empty seat. He will never be there anymore. 

“You have the option of saying no to heavy painkillers. You can say you are OK with taking just a Tylenol. Once you start it grabs you and pulls you down so fast; you may think you have it under control, but you really don't unless you get help.”

Israel says the fear addicts have is the fear of withdrawal. It’s akin to having the flu…”only one hundred times worse.”

“What I wanted to impress on you is what addiction does to you and your family and how severe it is today and the pain it leaves behind,” Israel said. 

“I’m a little worried about upcoming surgery and medications after,” said Perry Sophomore Chelsea Pascoe. “It definitely impacted us to just stay clear.

“We are told a lot about what would happen (if you become addicted) but we saw, sort of firsthand on what it will do… And when he found his son, I don't know how you'd cope with something like that.”

“You don't see it very often… the story (of addiction),” said Freshman Russ Johnson. “You hear about it, but you never really get to see how it affects the families and see what happens… I want to be the one that just stays clean. It's who I am. I want it to mean something to me. It's important.”

“I’m not whole because I miss someone really bad. I hope you never have to go through it,” Israel said.

For more information on Michael story and addiction, visit savethemichaels.org.

For resources on addiction and recovery in Wyoming County visit Recovery.org or Spectrum Human Services or Smart Recovery of Warsaw.

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Sunday, March 5, 2017 at 11:34 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, opioids, drugs, Warsaw.
Event Date and Time: 
March 16, 2017 - 10:30am to 12:30pm

A presentation and round table discussion on opioid dependent mothers and infants will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. March 16 at Valley Chapel Fellowship Hall, 3415 Route 19, Warsaw.

Featured speaker, Dr. Paul Updike, is the medical director of Pathways Methadone Clinic in Buffalo. Updike specializes in pain management and addiction medicine, and will be presenting on pre and post-natal opioid use.

    • A round table discussion will follow, featuring local medical professionals, as well as individuals impacted by the opioid epidemic.

Thursday, March 2, 2017 at 9:57 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, news, drugs, Perry, Attica, Warsaw, Arcade, DTF.

Two Perry residents were arrested recently for allegedly selling narcotics in Wyoming County, according to the Wyoming County Drug Task Force.

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     Sarah Ingalls

Sarah Ingalls, 22, was charged Feb. 23 with two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fifth degree and two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree. 

Ingalls is accused of selling lisdexamfetamine and methylphenidate on two different occasions last year in the Village of Perry.

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Kristen Bartholomew

Also on Feb. 23, Kristen Bartholomew, 36, was charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fourth degree and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree. 

Bartholomew is accused of selling Suboxone last year in the Village of Warsaw.

Both are currently free on bail.

The Wyoming County Drug Task Force includes members from the Sheriff’s Office, as well as the Arcade, Attica, Perry and Warsaw police departments.

Suspected illegal drug activity can be reported to the confidential drug tip line at (585) 786-8965.

Friday, February 3, 2017 at 3:40 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, drugs, children, health, Sen. Gallivan, news.

Press release:

The Senate has recently passed two bills to help save the lives of abused children who may otherwise slip through the cracks of Child Protective Services (CPS). The bills require testing young children for drugs if their guardian is arrested on drug charges, and they restrict high caseloads from jeopardizing the investigation of child abuse or maltreatment.

Bill S137 would require hair follicle testing of an infant or toddler under the age of 3 who is in the vicinity of parent or guardian who is arrested on a drug charge. 

The legislation, known as Kayleigh Mae's Law, is named after a 13-month-old child in Washington County who died in 2015 after being given heroin and cocaine for 10 months after birth. 

For children who are not yet old enough to speak, the hair follicle test would give a new tool for child protective investigations to help determine if a child’s health is at risk from illegal drug exposure.

“The goal of this legislation is to protect the lives of our most vulnerable citizens, our children,” said Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma). “We must also ensure that the caseworkers charged with the responsibility of keeping children and families safe are not overburdened and unable to perform their jobs effectively.” 

Bill S3146 establishes a statewide standard of no more than 15 cases per month per full-time child protective caseworker. The state Office of Children and Family Services recommends a CPS caseload size of 12 active reports per month. However, average caseloads are higher in many counties throughout the state. 

The bills have been sent to the Assembly.

Thursday, January 19, 2017 at 8:55 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, drugs, heroin, news, Warsaw.

While as tackling the heroin and opioid issue that has gripped New York State takes on a multifaceted approach, the Health departments of Wyoming, Genesee and Orleans counties have teamed up to form an Opioid Task Force in an effort to find common-sense practices to address the problem.

During Tuesday’s Wyoming County Board of Supervisors meeting in Warsaw, Public Health Director Gregory Collins gave a half-hour-long presentation on the topic. He highlighted how the crisis came about, along with current treatments available.

“At the moment we are in the midst of what turned into a heroin epidemic,” Collins said. “Years ago it was thought of as a ‘living on the streets type of drug,’ but it’s turned into so much more than that.”

“What we are finding statewide is to develop solutions locally is that sometimes when you don’t have a lot of resources at your disposal you sit down with those who are invested in this and come up with creative sensible solutions that are real,” said Public Health Administrator Laura Paolucci. “We don’t have a task force around this issue, but we have a lot of people paying close attention to it because it is heart rendering.

“While we have some scarcity of resources in the county, we started aligning some of our prevention efforts with Genesee and Orleans counties because we are similarly sized and there is one city between the three of us and it’s Batavia, so we started doing some planning and prevention things.”

There are several factors that created the opiate epidemic that not only plagues Wyoming County but the state and nation as well. It was an evolutionary process that spans two decades.

As Dr. Collins put it, it was a “combination that created a perfect storm.”

On one hand are the clinicians who are the on the front lines trying to do the right thing and alleviate the pain their patients feel. But they are not the crux of the issue, Collins says.

The second aspect is the pharmaceutical companies, who do play a big role in this and “moved the crisis forward.”

The regulatory bodies such at the Joint Commission, who oversees the hospitals, and the CMS (Center for Medicaid/Medicare Services), both of which have taken pain and turned it into the “fifth vital sign.” They have tied treating patients pain and tied it into a means of judging performance levels – how well is a patient's pain treated.

And finally, the patients themselves, who oftentimes have unrealistic expectations of how pain should be managed.

Collins told the audience that we get into problems because of the pain/pleasure receptors – called MU receptors – in the brain. Opiates bind to these MU receptors to control pain, but they also stimulate the pleasure receptors. If you aren’t using the drugs (Lortab, hydrocodone) for pain, they make you feel really good. However, too much stimulation of these receptors can cause an overdose at which time the respiratory system shuts down.

As a way to manage the overprescribing of opiates for pain, New York State set up the iStop program, or electronic monitoring of prescription narcotics. A person can no longer “doctor shop” to get an opiate to maintain their addiction.

“So now the people who ‘need’ the drug for their addiction can no longer get it… and drug dealers, being the entrepreneurs they are, flooded the streets with heroin, which has now taken the place of prescription medication because it’s available and cheap. There are many people among us who are functioning and living normal lives …who are using heroin just to live a normal life.”

This happens because over a period of time and use, the brain will “rewire” itself, dismissing the natural production of dopamine which is akin to an opiate stimulant. Think of it as a “runner’s high,” the feel-good feeling after you do something you enjoy doing.

However, heroin isn’t packed into a nice clean pill form where you know what you are getting. An addict knows just how much it takes of the drug to make them feel good. Nowadays, an addict can get a bag of heroin and not really know what is actually in the product.

“The most common drug heroin is ‘cut’ with is fentanyl, which is 100 times stronger than heroin. So when an addict, who thinks they are getting just heroin, buys the drug that is laced with fentanyl, they are actually getting a more concentrated substance, which in turn is causing overdoses.”

In an effort to “keeping people alive long enough” for them to get the help they need to overcome their addiction, the opiate blocker naloxone was developed. 

Naloxone has a stronger “attracting” component to MU receptors than opioids, thus blocking the receptors and “pushing” the heroin from the receptors. Essentially, it will throw an overdose victim into immediate withdrawal. At this point, there has to be other services in place for the addict to get the help they need to work toward recovery. 

There are several treatments available to addicts to help them get through the physical withdrawals of heroin. However, for an addict to truly get clean, not only do they have to want it, but there also has to be supporting treatment available and in place immediately to get them through the process of becoming sober.

“We draw our mental health partners in on this because they really are the experts in mental health,” Paolucci said. “We are launching a task force from all different sectors from all three counties to start leveraging best practices.”

“Right now, we don’t have enough treatment to give it to all the people who need it,” Collins said. “This is one of the issues that (the Opioid Task Force) is going to be focused on.”

One of the treatments include methodone, a medication administered by a physician on site with the patient being closely monitored.

Methodone is a straight opiate that is long acting. It helps get the addict keep the physical and psychological withdrawal to a minimum, but is administered under direct observed therapy. Currently, there are only two treatment facilities close to Wyoming County that administers methodone – one in Buffalo and the other in Rochester. There is one in the works for Batavia as well.

Another treatment is the drug Suboxone, which can be prescribed through a doctor's office, however, there are currently only two subscribers in the county, one being the rehabilitation facility Spectrum. This medication goes into the MU receptor and partially causes some of the opiate effect, but also blocks things like heroin from working. While Dr. Collins says it is good to use in some ways, by itself is not the answer. Again, the patient needs the support to get the other components of addiction under control. 

A third medication is Vivitrol. This once-a-month shot blocks the MU receptors completely, so if an opiate is taken, it won’t have an effect on the person. Currently, this is used on the jail side of the crisis after the person has been “put through” withdrawal. It’s an aid to help reintegrate the offender back into society without going back to negative influences.

Right now, the use of naloxone to prevent an overdose death is a kind of “Band-Aid” in the overall grand scheme of the crisis. 

“You really have to take the mindset that addiction is a chronic disease and these medications are to help get the person through so they can make the necessary changes to get their life back on track. It has to be thought of like taking any other medication for any other chronic illness.”

The creation of the Opioid Task Force is another rung on the ladder of combatting an issues that affects everyone in the community. The group will hold its first meeting from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 31, at the Genesee County Health Department, 3837 W. Main St., Batavia.

For more information on the meeting RSVP to KVoos@co.genesee.ny.us or call the Wyoming County Health Department at (585) 786-8890.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017 at 6:37 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, heroin, Perry, Wyoming County Court, drugs.
bradley_broadbent.jpg
   Bradley Broadbent

A 37-year-old former Batavia man was found guilty on drug charges following a three-day jury trial in Wyoming County Court earlier today. 

Bradley J. Broadbent is guilty of one count each of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree and criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree.

The charges stem from the Wyoming County Drug Task Force Operation Spring Sweep arrest of Broadbent in June.

However, his criminal activity started much earlier, beginning with an arrest in July 2012 in Genesee County. At that time he was indicted on three counts of criminal mischief in the fourth degree, criminal trespass, burglary in the second degree, and petit larceny.

In February last year he was charged with false personation, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, criminal use of drug paraphernalia and possession of hypodermic needles, following a traffic stop on Route 33, Stafford.

The June arrest was the result of a Jan. 14 possession and sale of 13 bags of heroin laced with the horse tranquilizer Xylazine. The sale was made to a confidential informant in the Village of Perry.

Also in June, Broadbent was arrested by the Genesee County Local Drug Enforcement Task Force on charges stemming from an April 24 incident in the Genesee County Jail. 

Broadbent allegedly smuggled heroin into the jail where he then was accused of selling a portion of the drug to Ryan M. Bobzin, 27, of Bergen. Both men were in jail at the same time on unrelated charges.

In December, he was indicted on those charges – criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony; criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony; and promoting prison contraband in the first degree, a Class D felony. 

Following today’s verdict, Broadbent was jailed without bail in the Wyoming County Jail. 

“Today’s convictions represent just one small measure of District Attorney Donald O’Geen’s resolute and concentrated efforts to combat the scourge of heroin and other opioids in Wyoming County,” said Wyoming County Assistant District Attorney Eric Schiener. “Thanks to the commitment and dedication of both the Drug Task Force and District Attorney O’Geen, there is now one less purveyor of this poison on the streets of Perry.”

Due to his “significant” criminal history, both of these Class B felony convictions could potentially result in a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and three years post-release supervision for Broadbent. 

Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 23.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016 at 4:49 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, drugs, Attica, prison, heroin.

A Buffalo man was sentenced to 21 months in prison for his role in drugs being smuggled into the Attica Correctional Facility.

Jerome Tallington, 28, was convicted in U.S. District Court Nov. 18 of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of heroin, and conspiracy to commit such offenses.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Meghan A. Tokash says the defendant sold heroin and marijuana to Elizabeth Camue Martinez between September and December 2013. Elizabeth then smuggled grams of heroin and ounces of marijuana into the prison and gave it to her husband, inmate Andres Martinez. Andres in turn distributed the drugs to other inmates in the facility.

Andres, 30, a citizen of the Dominican Republic, and Elizabeth, no age provided, were sentenced Sept. 9 – 45 months in prison and 34 months in prison, respectively – for their role in the conspiracy.

During the time of the conspiracy, although not directly attributable to the defendants, there were three prisoner overdose deaths involving heroin and fentanyl in Attica. Additionally, Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo stated at the time of sentencing, the defendants knew that a prisoner in Attica died of an overdose on Sept. 16, 2013, yet continued to sell drugs until Dec. 5 of the same year. Andres will be deported from the United States after he serves his sentence.

The sentences are the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt, New York Field Office; the New York State Police, under the direction of Maj. Steven Nigrelli; the New York State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team (CNET), under the direction of Maj. Wayne C. Olson; the Erie County Sheriff’s Department, under the direction of Sheriff Timothy Howard; the Wyoming Country District Attorney’s Office, under the direction of Donald O’Geen; the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, under the direction of Michael Flaherty; and the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, under the direction of Acting Commissioner Anthony Annucci.

Friday, October 21, 2016 at 12:38 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, Warsaw, Genesee Falls, drugs.

Members of the Wyoming County Drug Task Force have recently arrested three people for alleged drug sales in the county.

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        Lynda Brown

Lynda Brown, 55, formerly of Warsaw, was charged with two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree and two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree.

She is accused of selling oxycodone on two occasions in the Village of Warsaw in May 2014.

Brown was picked up in Baltimore, Md., and extradited back to New York nearly two years after she had fled the state, officials say. 

She was put in Wyoming County Jail in lieu of $50,000 cash bail.

patrick_wheeler.jpg
      Patrick Wheeler

Patrick Wheeler, 27, of Dansville, was charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree. 

He is accused of selling oxycodone to an undercover officer earlier this year in the Village of Warsaw. 

He is currently free after posting bail.

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      Zackery Conklin

Zackery Conklin, 29, of Genesee Falls, was charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fourth degree and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree. 

He is accused of selling Suboxone to an undercover agent in Genesee Falls earlier this year.

He is currently jailed in the Wyoming County Jail from another incident.

The Task Force includes members from the Sheriff’s Office, as well as the Arcade, Attica, Perry and Warsaw police departments. 

Friday, October 14, 2016 at 4:25 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, drugs, crime, events, Attica, heroin.

While Sandy Prusak may not have known that much about heroin, she figured she didn’t have to, she just had to get the people that did know together and start a conversation.

“I feel like I’m on the outside looking in. But, people I know have had their children overdose and not make it and you see how it affects them,” said the Attica resident. “A cousin’s stepdaughter died of an overdose and you go to the funeral and you see the sadness. It’s everywhere. It’s affecting everyone.”

That’s when she had the idea of initiating a Community Forum on Heroin and Opiates. The event will be held at 7 p.m. Oct. 17 at Attica High School, Attica. 

“I know nothing about the drugs. I want to know everything from the beginning,” Prusak said. “Most of all, I want parents to know what to look for in their children to see if they are on drugs.

"Has there been a theft of items or change? I want to know that if you look at your kid you will be able to recognize the signs of use and maybe you can stop it. Nobody wants their kid to have that urge for the rest of their life.”

She wanted to keep the program simple. She merely wanted to get people together and talk about it. She would like to see this program help erase the negativity of opening up if your child is a drug addict or are a functioning drug addict. 

“It affects all people, everyone you talk to. People are willing to talk about it and it needs to be addressed. You can have pot laced with heroin and not know it then all of the sudden you're hooked. If the kids have the information, maybe it will be a deterrent.

“I'm just sick of watching it happen. I don't like to see kids overdose and die. I want to be able to do something to make more people aware and this is what I can do without me having prior experience with drugs. I don't want anyone to lose their kid, as a mom that's devastating.”

The program will include personal experiences, facts and statistics, and the law. Additionally, it's to give the public a better understanding of what addicts are up against as well.

“If this meeting can stop just one kid from trying it... I want people to talk about it. Start the conversation. Learn the dangers. Get people talking.”

Tuesday, October 11, 2016 at 8:16 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, drugs, legislation, Sen. Gallivan.

Press release:

Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma) has introduced legislation (S-8190) to add “designer drugs” to the penal law, essentially codifying the definition under the federal Controlled Substances Act. The amendment would give law enforcement agencies the tools necessary to crackdown on the use of such drugs across New York State. 

One such drug is butyryl fentanyl, which is an analogue of fentanyl. This synthetic opioid analgesic is estimated to be substantially more potent than heroin and about 80 times the potency of morphine. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, butyryl fentanyl caused at least 38 deaths in the state in 2015. However, because of the strict identification of drugs listed under the schedules of controlled substances, this and other “designer drugs” do not fall within the confines of existing state law.

“Designer drugs have become a menace in communities across the state and endanger public health and safety,” Gallivan said. “These dangerous analogue drugs currently do not fall under existing state law and are not listed as controlled substances, making it difficult for police to go after users and dealers. This legislation will change that.”

The bill also defines the term “knowingly” with respect to offenses related to the sale or possession of a controlled substance analogue. Under the legislation, the defendant is not required to have knowledge of the chemical structure of the drug, but rather, the intended effect the substance could have on an individual.

The Senate will consider the bill when it returns to session in January.

Thursday, September 15, 2016 at 2:59 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, Warsaw, Arcade, Bennington, drugs, DTF.

Members of the Wyoming County Drug Task Force (DTF) arrested three people Sept. 14 for alleged drug sales in the county.

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   Tracy Phillips   Spencer Bressette

Tracy Phillips, 55, of Warsaw, and Spencer Bressette, 22, of West Seneca, were each charged with two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fifth degree and two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree. 

They both are accused of selling aprazolam in separate incidents: Phillips – twice in the Village of Warsaw; and Bressette – twice in the Town of Bennington.

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     Nicole Fisher

Nicole Fisher, 28, of West Valley, was charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fourth degree and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree.

She is accused of selling Suboxone in the Village of Arcade.

All three suspects are free on bail.

The DTF includes members from the Sheriff’s Office, as well as the Arcade, Attica, Perry and Warsaw police departments.

Suspected illegal drug activity can be reported to the confidential drug tip line at (585) 786-8965.

Friday, September 2, 2016 at 9:53 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, Eagle, meth, drugs.

During a “routine check” at the home of an Eagle man, police officers allegedly found several precursors which are used in the making of methamphetamine. The alleged discovery at the home on Cooley Road resulted in the arrest of three individuals.

Alan Hartman and Nichole McMurray, both residing at the Cooley Road address; and Tyler McMurray, of Gowanda, were all charged with unlawful manufacturing of methamphetamine in the third degree. 

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      Alan Hartman

Additionally, Hartman, 50, was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree and jailed without bail in the Wyoming County Jail.

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    Nichole McMurray      Tyler McMurray

Nichole, 27, and Tyler, 32, were also charged with  tampering with physical evidence and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree. Both were jailed in the Wyoming County jail –Tyler, without bail, and Nichole in lieu of $25,000 cash bail.

Additional charges are likely against all three, pending lab results of items seized from the home. 

The arrests were made through a joint investigation by members of the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police, and New York State Division of Parole.

The New York State Police Contamination Crime Scene Emergency Response Team assisted with decontamination at the scene. The Bliss Fire Department and Ambulance, and Medic 80 were on standby during the incident.

Monday, August 22, 2016 at 12:58 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, drugs, heroin, Attica, Arcade.

The Wyoming County Drug Task Force (DTF) continues their efforts ridding the county of illegal drugs with the arrests of three individuals.

On July 29, two Buffalo residents were arrested following an undercover “drug operation” in the Village of Arcade.

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   Larenzo Eaton    Daytionna Perry

Larenzo Eaton, 30, and Daytionna Perry, 24, are accused of selling crack cocaine in the village. They were both charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, and conspiracy in the fourth degree. Both are free after posting bail.

On Aug. 18, the final suspect in the DTF’s Operation Spring Sweep was extradited back to Wyoming County from the State of Florida.

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   Miranda Walker

Miranda Walker, 21, formerly of Attica, was located in July in Florida. She was charged with two counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree, and two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree. 

Walker allegedly sold heroin on two occasions in the Village of Attica. She is currently being held in the Wyoming County Jail in lieu of $50,000 cash bail.

Operation Spring Sweep has netted 26 arrests throughout the county.

Any suspicion of illegal drug activity can be reported to the confidential tip line at (585) 786-8965.

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