Martin and St. Lucie County sheriffs team up to fight heroin overdoses

Posted at 11:01 PM, Nov 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-15 05:05:00-05

Two sheriffs from two different counties are teaming up to fight one deadly problem -- opioid-related deaths.

“This is by far the worst I’ve see in 43 years,” said Martin County Sheriff William Snyder.

Snyder and St Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara are now combining forces.

“We saw this as a regional problem,” said Mascara.

And it can be better addressed if he and I work together,” said Snyder referring to Mascara.
The two are hoping to combat the growing number of heroin-related overdoses and deaths in the counties they protect and serve.

Snyder and Mascara have already teamed up on a powerful public service announcement shared thousands of times on social. And that is just the start of their joint efforts.

“You have two sheriffs’ offices completely collaborating, not just on Facebook and social media, but on the streets, where it matters,” said Snyder.

In Martin County alone, there are have been more than 70 reported overdoses, 22 of them deadly so far this year.

“They’re unconscious,” said Snyder as he described the calls. “They’re barely breathing. They’re dying.”

Snyder and Mascara believe the problem is even bigger in St. Lucie County. The two sheriffs attribute the overdose explosion to a now familiar and deadly additive: Fentanyl.

Separately, Snyder and Mascara say they’ve changed their approach.

A narcotics detective now responds to each overdose call.

“They interview the person who overdosed, the person who called, and then they actually canvas the neighborhood,” said Mascara.

When it comes to the collaboration on the streets, Martin County and St. Lucie County are doing joint operations.

“We’re collectively putting personnel together, ideas together, initiatives together and our assets together,” said Mascara.

However, Both sheriff’s say the biggest help will come from an open dialog at home.

Both of the sheriffs also say the death rates would be much higher if it were not for Narcan, the drug that reverses the effects of the opioids.

However, they say they’re now having to use multiple doses on some patients, and in some cases, it doesn’t work.