BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Brainstorming efforts are underway by Buffalo officials to understand how to dismantle the heroin problem after reports Tuesday revealed three fatal heroin overdoses in a span of 36 hours.
Buffalo Police Commissioner Dan Derenda spoke alongside Mayor Byron Brown on Tuesday at a discussion on a new hiring initiative for Buffalo Police Officers, when they revealed the continuing severity of heroin overdoses in the city.
Derenda said thus far in Erie County in 2016, there have been 50 fatal overdoses, including the three deaths in 36 hours. In just 2015, police reported over 300 overdose deaths to heroin in Erie County.
“It’s at epidemic levels,” Derenda said. “If we had 43 homicides in the City of Buffalo last year, we had 300 people die of overdoses in addition.”
The official approach, according to city officials, is three pronged, starting with education of the public, incarceration of dealers and treatment for addicts.
“We are investigating a variety of different possibilities,” Mayor Brown said of research underway now. “Right now we’re looking at a number of things, but nothing additional from what we’re doing that we want to talk about because they’re not at implementation stage.”
Brown couldn’t put a timeline on when new measures will be implemented, but promised he has been working with advocates and other municipalities to curb the epidemic.