Suffolk County and SCPD Announce Creation of Suffolk Sharing Opioid Analysis & Research (SOAR)

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First on Long Island partnership will include public health and safety agencies to share intelligence on overdoses

 Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart, along with representatives of public health and public safety agencies, announced the creation of Suffolk Sharing Opioid Analysis & Research (SOAR).

The opioid epidemic is an issue that reaches a variety of government agencies and this group will bring stakeholders to the table to share expertise, generate information and tailor targeted interventions. Beginning in 2020, high-level department officials will meet quarterly to share intelligence collected by each agency regarding non-fatal and fatal overdoses while also taking a 360-degree view at specific fatal overdoses in an effort to evaluate responses and create new solutions to a crisis that impacts all demographics. This will be the first time the agencies, will come together to share agency-specific data to build a trans-disciplinary approach across various levels of government.

“Suffolk County is taking the lead in tackling the opioid epidemic in a variety of ways including launching new job programs for individuals and family members affected by this crisis, training thousands on how to administer Narcan and suing Big Pharma to hold them accountable for their role in connection with creating the opioid crisis,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said. “The county continues to seek innovative ways to address the opioid epidemic and Suffolk SOAR offers a great approach by bringing both public health and safety perspectives to the table.”

“Addiction is truly a health and safety issue and bringing high-level officials that are experts in their field together will yield better results in the war against opioids,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said. “The goal of Suffolk SOAR is to prevent overdoses and reduce drug abuse. Working together, we can generate an inclusive understanding of local issues associated with drug use. While we often look to help the individual suffering from addiction, these meetings will allow participating agencies to review internal responses to see if there are gaps or areas that can be improved.”

“This is an incredible initiative that we are launching and the strength lies in the case study approach to looking at specific cases,” Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini said. “Something went wrong in all of these cases; someone is dead. By looking at those cases and identifying whether it is a gap in service or a missed opportunity by law enforcement to intervene and get that person into treatment, it will help us to formulate even more effective strategies in addressing the opioid crisis.”

“Too many times at the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office, we see men and women who are incarcerated and, while they may not be a fatality of the opioid crisis, they have used and know those who have overdosed,” Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon said. “This collaboration will really help Suffolk County move forward in identifying and solving some of the opioid issues in Suffolk County.”

The public health and safety agencies that form Suffolk SOAR are the Suffolk County Police Department, Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office, Suffolk County Department of Health Services, Office of the Suffolk County Medical Examiner, Suffolk County Department of Social Services and Suffolk County Probation. It is expected Suffolk SOAR will grow to include other agencies.

Suffolk SOAR is modeled after NYPD’s RxStat.


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