The 104th Precinct Community Council (104PCC) was visited by a familiar face during their monthly meeting on Tuesday at St. Matthias School in Ridgewood, as Captain Gregory Mackie, former executive officer of the 104th Precinct, came to discuss the growing opioid epidemic plaguing the city.
After leaving the 104th Precinct, Mackie moved to the NYPD’s Queens Narcotics Division to help deal with the city’s opioid epidemic, with people overdosing (OD) on opioid pain medication and heroin at an alarming rate.
To combat the rising number of overdoses, the NYPD created a narcotics task force, where narcotics detectives are dedicated to investigating each overdose case in the city of New York, and on a more local level, Queens North.
“[The goal is] apprehending and bringing to justice the dealer, or the dealers, who are responsible for the overdose incidents,” Mackie said. “We treat the person who overdoses [as] a victim. A lot of times we go to these jobs, and a common misconception that people have is that we are after the person who overdosed to arrest them, to punish them for being a drug addict. That is not the case, so I’m going to dispel that myth right now. Our goal is to apprehend the dealer.”
According to Mackie, overdoses are on the rise because drug dealers are now cutting their drugs with the highly addictive and dangerous Fentanyl.
Fentanyl is a narcotic used to treat severe pain that has a high risk for addiction and dependence, and can cause respiratory distress and death when taken in high doses or when combined with other substances, especially alcohol.
Mackie said there have been 219 overdose incidents in the borough for the year, with two-thirds of them non-fatal, and approximately 72 fatal incidents.
Whenever the police respond to an incident, they test all of the substances found at the scene.
“We are finding that more and more, the percentage is becoming higher and higher for Fentanyl,” Mackie said. “These people are buying basically straight Fentanyl off the street thinking they’re getting heroin, or thinking they are getting Oxycodone, but really as a matter of fact, it’s almost pure Fentanyl; or very, very tiny traces of actual narcotic, which is very alarming because these are the things that are killing people.”
Mackie gave those in attendance signs to look for in a person to determine if they have a drug problem and what to watch out for if they believe someone is currently shooting up drugs.
For anyone interested in addiction services, Mackie suggested checking 311 for a comprehensive list of services.
This post originally appeared on QNS.com