Police have already been teaming up to try to stop the rise in heroin-related deaths but say their efforts have not stopped users, who are in the suburbs as well as the city.
U.S. Attorney William Hochul says the warnings about heroin mixed with synthetic opiates have not been heeded. The deadly mix of heroin laced with Fentanyl surfaced in Buffalo last summer after there were four overdoses and three deaths within a short time.
Since then the problem has spread beyond the city and first ring suburbs.
“Now we’ve been into the second ring and the larger suburban, and frankly some of our rural communities of Western New York,” Hochul said.
Recovering heroin user “Jimmy” from the Southtowns told News 4 how easy it was for him to come into Buffalo to buy heroin.
“I would just walk down the street and people would offer it to me, and, you know, I wouldn’t have to know anybody. They just kind of come up to me and offer me some for a cheap price,” he said.
Toward the end of the summer, 20-year-old Angel Marcial was arrested in Buffalo for allegedly selling heroin addicts pure Fentanyl, which is 10 to a hundred times more powerful than heroin. It led to a rare warning by the sheriff to heroin users.
Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard said, “If you bought drugs from this man, do not use them. If you use the drugs from this individual, your next dosage may very likely be your last.”
It was almost the last for two brothers from a central surburb of Buffalo, according to Sr. Detective Alan Rozansky.
“It was fortunate that we did intercede because it turned out it was pure Fentanyl. Had he and his brother used that suspected heroin, they would have found out. They’d probably have been dead,” Rozansky said.
Rozansky says one of those brothers was an engineer, whose life has been ruined by heroin abuse.