Four overdoses, one weekend

Within hours, Orange County suffers loss of four community members to opioids: Man is charged in connection with death of Maybrook woman


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BY ERIKA NORTON

— Four people were suspected to have died of overdoses in Orange County over last weekend, according to the District Attorney’s office.

After an investigation into the death of a 24-year-old Maybrook woman as the result of a possible drug overdose, Town of Montgomery police arrested Jay Pagan, 32, of Maybrook on Jan. 26 in connection with her death.

County officials gave information about the other three victims to other media, which identified them as being from Goshen, Monroe and Warwick, and gave their ages and genders. But along the way, the decision was reversed. The Orange County Medical Examiner declined to provide the identities of the other suspected overdose victims, saying it was out of respect for the privacy of the victims’ families.

There is no indication that any of the cases are connected, save for the fact that four young people died.

In the Town of Montgomery Court, Pagan was arraigned on a felony complaint alleging he sold heroin to the deceased woman on Jan. 26 at his home shortly before her death. He is charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance.

He was sent to Orange County Jail on $25,000 cash bail or $75,000 secured bond. The prosecutors will present the case to an Orange County Grand Jury.

According to District Attorney David Hoovler, there were 88 suspected overdose fatalities in Orange County last year.

“The opioid crisis continues to claim far too many lives,” Hoovler said in a statement. “This weekend alone there were four suspected overdose deaths in our county. I commend the Town of Montgomery Police Department for their investigation of this woman’s tragic death.”

“My office will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to prosecute those who peddle dangerous and frequently lethal narcotics,” Hoovler said. “While we continue to recommend treatment for many offenders who are addicted to narcotics, reducing the supply of narcotics by imposing meaningful state prison sentences on narcotics traffickers is a necessary part of the solution to this epidemic.”

Help is hereTown of Montgomery Police Chief Arnold Amthor also wanted to remind the community of its Addiction Assistance Program, designed to address the needs of any person who comes into the police station requesting help with their addiction. Any person who enters the police station and requests help with their addiction to opiates, or other drugs, will be immediately assisted and screened for the program and will not be charged with drug or drug paraphernalia possession.

“The number one and number two enemy of the drug dealer is quality community policing along with expanded treatment options for those with addictions,” Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus said. “To that end, we have worked with Cornerstone Health to expand treatment options across the county. We have expanded access to treatment options and are continuing to urge the state to make more treatment slots available in Orange County to our non-profit partners.

“In terms of law enforcement, we continue to support efforts of our sheriff, local police, and District Attorney to arrest and prosecute drug dealers,” Neuhaus continued. “More arrests and prosecution of dealers and more treatment of users are the best way to reduce drug abuse.”

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