SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Schenectady County is now designated as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.

The announcement, made by Senator Chuck Schumer on Thursday, comes after a visit to the Capital Region last month pledging more aid to combat the opioid epidemic locally.

The designation comes from the Office of National Drug Control Policy and allows the county to use federal funding for new equipment like narcotics analyzers and naloxone kits, an emergency response overdose drug.

Schenectady County saw four overdoses in one week last month, accompanying record-high opioid-related overdoses in the Capital Region and New York State over the last two years.

According to the New York State Department of Health, EMS in Schenectady County administered Naloxone over 250 times in 2021. Senator Chuck Schumer issued a statement with the announcement:

“I will not stop fighting to supercharge funding for this program and addiction services further to reverse the tides on this recent overdose wave and get people the help they need and fight the flow of drugs in our communities.”

Schumer said the county’s close proximity to Albany and Troy make it an easy target for drug traffickers.

In a statement accompanying the announcement, Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney said:

“Drug dealers exploit the easy access to Schenectady via train and an extensive highway and interstate system that flows north, south, east and west through our county and the capital district. The County law enforcement and its citizens welcome the commitment of federal funding, increased sharing of intelligence, analytical support, enhanced training opportunities and even more cooperative efforts between local, state, tribal and federal partners.”

The designation will also provide law enforcement in the county with additional help to reduce the supply of illegal drugs like fentanyl, a leading cause of overdoses in the region.