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Addiction experts say fentanyl seizure will save many lives

November 07, 2017 07:42 PM

The Albany County sheriff says they just took an alarming amount of the drug fentanyl off the streets. Just one speck of it can kill and addiction experts worry that it's pouring into our communities.

Authorities say it started after they pulled over a New York City man on the highway in Menands.

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Investigators say 25-year-old Lord Tyriek Smith of Brooklyn had 290 envelopes of fentanyl with him and almost 1,200 more at his apartment on Madison Avenue in Albany.

"When that gets sold to somebody, they cut it and cut it and cut it, but it only takes a few grams of Fentanyl to kill somebody," pointed out Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple.

It's 40 to 50 times more powerful than heroin and the sheriff says it's killing people left and right. Columbia County knows that all too well.

"We first started hearing about it in some of the overdoses last year, but nowhere near the many that we're hearing about this year, pointed out Carl Quinn, with Columbia Pathways to Recovery.

He says there were 11 fatal overdoses last year. They're up to 15 so far in 2017 and all of them this year are related to fentanyl.

Sheriff Apple says China is a leading source of the powerful opioid.

"I'd have to think it's coming in here by the cargo container by the amount of fentanyl that's flooding upstate New York. This is just one part of the country. How much of this is really pouring into this country every single day," wondered Apple.

It's also a growing problem for law enforcement. Officers can overdose by simply touching it or breathing it in.

Quinn says that had this seized fentanyl gotten to the streets, we'd be hearing about many deaths.

"I don't think we've ever heard that large of an amount come into this area before. So it's an important arrest that they made certainly to get it off the street," acknowledged Quinn.

The Saratoga County Sheriff's Office is hosting a discussion on heroin and opioid abuse, Wednesday, November 22. It's at the Saratoga County Fire Training Center on County Farm Road in Ballston Spa.

People who attend will also learn about Narcan and get a free supply of the antidote for heroin overdoses.      

Credits

WNYT Staff

Copyright 2017 - WNYT-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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