News Flash

LD 06 - Legislator Sarah S. Anker

Posted on: October 24, 2019

New Technology to Fight Opioid Epidemic Unveiled in Suffolk County

Mass Spectrometer Presser

Hauppauge, NY - Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker joined County Executive Steve Bellone and her colleagues on Tuesday, October 22nd to announce the purchase of a new quadrapole mass spectrometer for the Suffolk County Crime Laboratory. The equipment will be essential in addressing the growing heroin and opioid epidemic in Suffolk County and prosecuting illegal drug dealers.

After hearing about the need for a quadrapole mass spectrometer from the Medical Examiner and the Police Department at a Heroin and Opiate Epidemic Advisory Committee meeting, Legislator Anker, chairwoman of the committee, initiated conversations with stakeholders to identify funding to purchase the equipment.

The new mass spectrometer is a vital tool in addressing the drastic increase in Fentanyl analogs being sold on the streets. These analogs are Fentanyl that has been manipulated in a lab by making small changes to the molecular structure. They appear in smaller concentrations and are more difficult to detect and identify. This new equipment is more sensitive and allows the user to identify pre-cursors to Fentanyl and other synthetic drugs known as “novel psychoactive substances”. The quadrapole mass spectrometer is able to produce a spectrum of substances in seconds instead of hours and does not use high temperatures like other equipment which can heat chemicals to a point where they may no longer be recognized.

“The opioid epidemic has taken over 700,000 lives in the United States between 1999 and 2017. This number is higher than all of the American wars combined excluding the Civil War. The mass spectrometer adds another weapon in our arsenal in fighting the war on addiction,” said Legislator Anker. “I thank the Suffolk County Police Department, the Sheriff’s Office, and the District Attorney’s Office for their contribution through asset forfeiture funds for this important piece of equipment that will identify the breakdown of illegal drugs and will assist in the prosecution of drug dealers.”

The mass spectrometer will be used in the drug chemistry lab to test seized substances to determine if they contain illicit drugs. This information can be used to further search warrants, allow for arrests, and help in the prosecution of drug dealers, and identify drugs in overdose deaths. The speed at which the new equipment is able to identify the presence of drugs will significantly aid the ability of the Police Department to act swiftly to remove the drugs from the streets and arrest the dealers.

 “The Suffolk County Police Department was extremely pleased to jointly fund this valuable public safety tool for our Medical Examiner’s Office in conjunction with the District Attorney and the Sheriff.  This instrument will not only enhance the ability to prosecute drug dealers in Suffolk County, it will save lives by rapidly identifying highly potent drug derivatives to facilitate rapid law enforcement action,” said Suffolk County Police Department Chief Stuart Cameron.   

“This equipment is going to help us be on the cutting edge and on the forefront of aggressively and intelligently addressing the opioid epidemic,” said Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini. “This new technology, which was purchased entirely by funds seized from drug traffickers, will be used to hold even more drug dealers accountable. I would like to thank Legislator Anker, County Executive Bellone, the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s Office, Suffolk County Police Department and Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office for their continued partnership. This was a true joint effort, and I believe that this is an important step toward putting an end to the opioid crisis.”

For more information, please contact Legislator Sarah Anker’s office at (631) 854-1600.

Mass Spectrometer Presser

Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker joined Suffolk County Medical Examiner Michael Caplan, Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini, Suffolk County Police Chief Stuart Cameron, and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone

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