Editor’s Note: This is the first in a two-part series on heroin in Chenango County and the threat it poses to local law enforcement and the community as a whole. Next week’s story will address the addictive nature of the narcotic, as well as potential ways to address rehabilitation for those seeking help.
Authorities and local officials are calling heroin use a growing epidemic in Chenango County, and over the course of the last five years, there has been an indisputable spike in heroin-related arrests, investigations and convictions. And while many taxpayers continue to call for cuts to government spending, even on the local level, law enforcement agencies countywide simply don’t have the manpower needed to combat what many consider a very real threat.
“We’ve seen a definite uptick in the use of heroin in recent years and it’s a drug that hasn’t really been on our radar since the 70s,” said Norwich City Police Chief Joseph Angelino. “At that time there was such a stigma attached to the drug, and the use of needles, whereas now it’s become very popular and almost a status symbol.”