Sheriff updates past statistics, looks to future
LIVINGSTON COUNTY — The Livingston County Opioid Task Force is taking a holistic approach to combating the opioid epidemic in the region.
Livingston County Sheriff Thomas J. Dougherty recently provided an update on the status of the Task Force's efforts.
In January of 2018, the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office began tracking the number of opioid related death investigations, opioid related ambulance calls, and opioid related arrests. In September of 2018, the Sheriff’s Office along with members from Livingston County Law Enforcement agencies, CASA-Trinity, Livingston County Department of Health, Livingston County EMS, and Livingston County Probation, created an Opioid Task Force. The purpose of the task force is to share and track information to have real time data on opiate related incidents as well as combine efforts to treat and prevent opioid usage.
Each agency began reporting pertinent data regarding opioid related overdoses and EMS calls to the Sheriff’s Office for collection and mapping. In addition, the agencies involved also advise CASA-Trinity of the opiate related incident so that local law enforcement and a peer support specialist can coordinate expeditious contact with the user to offer services for his/her addiction. Initially, peer support services were offered to opioid users that experienced an overdose or EMS related incident.
Opioid related death investigations – 13
Opioid related EMS calls – 31 (The 2018 statistics include data from the Sheriff’s Office from Jan. 1, 2018 and data from all other agencies from Sept. 1, 2018.)
In addition, the Sheriff’s Office made 51 opioid related arrests in 2018
Opioid related death investigations – 8
Opioid related EMS calls - 23 (The 2019 statistics include data from all reporting agencies for the entire year.)
In addition, the Sheriff’s Office made 38 opioid related arrests in 2019
2020 and beyond
Beginning in January of 2020, agency members began reporting all opioid related incidents for tracking and follow up by the local police agency and peer support from CASA-Trinity. This will include follow up not only with overdoses/EMS calls, but any opioid related police investigation as well as assisting family members of death investigations.
With the newly enacted NYS Justice Reform Act, there was a major concern among the members of the Opioid Task Force that opioid users who were found to be in possession of an illegal opioid substance would have to be released prior to arrest due to evidence discovery laws included in the Justice Reform Act. The members unanimously agreed that intervention as early as possible was needed in an attempt to prevent further drug abuse or criminal activity with the user. As result, peer support from CASA-Trinity will offer services to the user as soon as possible at the onset of the police investigation.
The follow up services that were provided by CASA-Trinity have yielded the following results:
From September 2018 through December 2018 – the referrals received during this time for opioid related EMS calls for overdoses, 85% of people who had overdosed accepted peer support services for their addiction.
For the entire year of 2019 – the referrals received during this time period for opioid related EMS calls for overdoses, 87% of people who had overdosed accepted peer support services for their addiction. As this was a full year with data collection we were able to see that out of the 87% that accepted peer support services for their addiction 57% were successful (success is defined as people who successfully completed treatment as well as people who are still engaged in some form of recovery process thru peer supports or counseling). The 43% who were not successful disengaged after a short period of time and did not stay connected with peer supports.
“I thank all the members of the Opioid Task Force for their efforts in tracking and reducing opioid related deaths in Livingston County,” stated Sheriff Dougherty. “I also thank the citizens who come forward with pertinent information allowing us to combat this epidemic. There is much more work to do but through these great partnerships, we will continue to do our best with the ultimate goal of saving lives.”