Oswego County has been designated as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area by the federal government.
U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said the designation was granted by the federal Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Schumer explained the designation would improve coordination among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, in addition to providing Oswego County with the equipment, technology and additional resources to tackle the challenges of the opioid epidemic.
It joins Oneida and Onondaga counties as Central New York areas designated as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas.
Schumer said in recent years, Oswego County has experienced a spike in drug trafficking and overdose deaths, negatively affecting the health and well-being of residents. To address this threat to public safety, Schumer worked with Oswego County law enforcement officials as they pursued the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas designation.
“Like so many communities in Upstate New York, Oswego County has been devastated by the scourge of drug trafficking and opioids. While local law enforcement has been working diligently to combat the opioid epidemic on the ground, they need more federal support to curb this crisis,” Schumer said.
“Fortunately, this HIDTA designation, which I’ve been proud to fight for tooth and nail, will provide Oswego County law enforcement with additional resources, manpower and intelligence to thwart Central New York drug traffickers,” Schumer said. “We must do everything we can to stop drug traffickers from wreaking more havoc to public health and well-being across New York State, and this designation will help do just that.”
The petition for Oswego County to be designated a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area was made by a coalition of local law enforcement agencies: the Oswego County District Attorney’s Office, Oswego City Police Department, Oswego County Sheriff’s Office, the County Drug Task Force and SUNY Oswego Police.
The program provides money for intelligence-sharing initiatives, drug use prevention and drug treatment initiatives, as well as general support for programs that provide assistance to law enforcement beyond their normal scope of duty.
Schumer said Oswego County has a population of 122,000 and that its geographical location in Upstate New York makes it an appealing and convenient location for drug traffickers. Additionally, Schumer explained that recently, the county has been ravaged by opioids, especially dangerous drugs like fentanyl-laced heroin, which have negatively impacted Oswego’s college students and communities, and yielded an elevated rate of overdoses.