Addressing the Addiction Crisis in Onondaga County, NY
As we are building momentum to the General Election, I am setting forth policies that I intend to take as Sheriff of Onondaga County to address the addiction crisis facing our community:
1. We will separate the War on Drugs (supply) from the addiction crisis. I have 27 years of experience in the disruption and dismantling of criminal organizations that supply these poisons to our community and I have no intention of stopping that important work now. However, we will also open up a new War on Addiction (demand), where we maximize the resources available to us to get addicts into services that can ultimately save lives.
It is well-documented that for many addicts, their troubles began with a visit to their doctors office. Big Pharma made billions encouraging doctors to prescribe massive amounts of painkillers, assuring them that there was no chance that their patients would become addicted. Addicts are the ultimate victims of this deception, along with their families and loved ones. So what makes us think that arresting addicts will get us out of this mess? Addicts are already paying with their lives.
2. Review the current Justice Center protocols regarding prescription drugs, particularly the use of those which ease the symptoms of withdrawal. There are drugs that have helped addicts deal with withdrawal and keep cravings at bay. Let’s use them to get addicts on the path to recovery.
3. Evaluate the role of the Sheriff’s Department on the Onondaga County Drug Task Force. Right now, the DA oversees the Drug Task Force. Why is that? It is the Sheriff’s Department that patrols the streets and comes into contact with addiction and its aftermath on a regular basis. Why isn’t our Sheriff in the lead on this?
4. Establish an Advisory Panel to evaluate Best Practices for Law Enforcement in dealing with people and families struggling with addiction. Some states have enjoyed reductions in their addiction rate. I want Onondaga County to be a leader and a model for the nation. We need a comprehensive approach to combat the complexities of addiction, especially in the more rural areas of the county, where access is a huge hurdle to getting help. The get-tougher-on-crime approach alone is not enough and does not work.