Governor Bryan Meets with HIDTA Officials to Get Update on Overdose Response Strategy

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS — Governor Albert Bryan Jr., Health Commissioner Justa Encarnacion and Police Commissioner Designee Ray Martinez met Thursday, December 9, 2021, on St. Thomas with members of the PRVI HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) Task Force for an update on the law enforcement unit’s new Overdose Response Strategy.

HIDTA, which is federally funded but locally administered, comprises various law enforcement agencies that team up to stop drug trafficking in the region and around the country.

HIDTA’s Overdose Response Strategy (ORS) is an effort to stem the growing drug crisis resulting from the widening use of opioids and now fentanyl by increasing the exchange of information between the law enforcement and health care sectors. HIDTA units across the United States are implementing the ORS, taking a data-driven approach to supporting law enforcement efforts and preventive/educational outreach against the impact of opioid and fentanyl abuse.

PRVI HIDTA has selected former St. Thomas Police Chief and V.I. Police Department Commissioner Rodney Querrard as the ORS Drug Intelligence Officer DOI), and Commissioner Encarnacion said she is identifying Department of Health personnel who can serve as Public Health Analysts.

A primary topic of Thursday’s meeting, which was to update Governor Bryan on the status of the ORS initiative in the U.S. Virgin Islands, was how to properly deploy Naloxone, also known as Narcan, which can reverse the effects of an overdose for users and law enforcement officers at risk from handling highly toxic substances, such as fentanyl.

Commissioner Encarnacion also noted that the Territory’s hospitals should be included in future discussions of the ORS efforts, and DIO Querrard said HIDTA already has conducted a two-day educational outreach at Ss. Peter ans Paul Catholic School and similar programs are scheduled for February at other high schools in both districts.

The Bryan-Roach Administration is investing in the Territory’s people, infrastructure and future through transparency, stabilizing the economy, restoring trust in the government and ensuring that recovery projects are completed as quickly as possible. Visit transparency.vi.gov

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