Orange County DA calls rise in drug overdoses an ‘unintended consequence’ of bail reform
Officials in Orange County are alerting the public to an increase in fentanyl-laced drugs that they say are responsible for nearly all of the county’s drug-related deaths.
Officials issued an alert Thursday, one day after what state police said was a tragic overdose in Westtown.
“I think it’s time we have a conversation about the unintended consequences of bail reform here in the Hudson Valley,” says Orange County District Attorney Dave Hoovler.
Hoovler says the problem is twofold and caused by the rise in fentanyl-laced drugs and dealers on the street.
“Ninety-nine percent of all drug crimes are not bail eligible,” said Hoovler. “It’s simply you get arrested and you get an appearance ticket. You're in and you’re out. Your criminal history doesn’t matter. Nothing matters.”
Hoovler says 20% of people arrested statewide and in the county are reoffending while out on bail reform.
Ulster County put out an alert this week after 39 overdoses and seven deaths so far, this month.
“No one in the Legislature seems to care that people sell drugs and get released and are back out in the street,” says Hoovler.
Authorities also are asking the public to take a close look at a picture they released showing the difference between a real oxycodone and a fake one.
They say it’s almost impossible to tell the difference and that dangerous pills like these are being sold locally.
“I had a family in my office just two weeks ago that indicated, ‘I can’t believe my son is gone. He only took one pill. He bought a pill off a friend and thought it was a legitimate Oxycontin pill, and it wasn’t.’”
News 12 reached out to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office for comment but hasn’t heard back.
A representative for Gov. Hochul’s office didn’t comment on concerns surrounding bail reform and overdose rates but said, "Gov. Hochul is deeply and personally committed to combating the opioid epidemic and has invested millions of dollars in addiction services [and] providers since taking office."