CHENANGO COUNTY – Criminal activity relating to the narcotic heroin has been increasing exponentially over the past few years in Chenango County, a trend local officials are hoping to curtail even as opiate-related arrests continue to spike.
“Five or six years ago we didn’t have this conversation, it didn’t exist, but now it’s a major problem,” said Chenango County Treatment Court Coordinator James Everard.
In 2010, the Norwich Police Department made 91 drug related arrests; in 2011, 98. Last yea,r 148 people were arrested by the Norwich PD for drug related crimes. And while the years of 2010 and 2011 saw few charges concerning hypodermic instruments – just two each year – in 2012, more than 20 people were charged with the class A misdemeanor. Norwich PD charges of criminal possession and/or sale of controlled substance went from 13 in 2010 to 35 in 2011, and 43 in 2012. Last year, 141 drug related felony level indictments were handed down by grand juries.
“We are aggressively pursuing all crimes involving heroin,” said Chenango County First Assistant District Attorney Stephen Dunshee. “Whether it’s a defendant stealing money to feed their addiction or individuals selling in our community, we want to get the word out that the sale of heroin or any narcotic in Chenango County is not going to be tolerated.”
Said Chenango County Court Judge Frank B. Revoir Jr., “The approach to the war on drugs has to be a multifaceted one. The fact that every time a dealer gets locked up another seems to take their place is not an excuse to not keep fighting. We need to keep on locking up dealers with tougher, longer sentences so that they will know there are consequences for dealing in Chenango County.”