Heroin addiction is a problem across the country and around the world, but attention turned to the heroin addiction epidemic in Long Island two years ago when the grossly high numbers first hit the news. Now, tales of heroin addiction in Long Island are again making headlines but with stories that are more and more violent and grotesque.
The Problem of Long Island Heroin Addiction
The sheer amount of heroin taken in recent drug busts, the number of those dying due to heroin overdose or heroin related accidents, and the rate at which the wealthy residents of Long Island continue to fund drug dealers from the city is horrifying to local officials. An average of two people per week overdose on heroin in Long Island and this strong resurgence after decades of dormancy make heroin a fearful foe for those who would like to see heroin addiction eradicated.
Fighting Heroin Addiction in Long Island: Prevention
The first attack against the increase in heroin addiction started with Nassau lawmakers. A new law was proposed that would allow the district attorney to prosecute drug deals for manslaughter if they are connected to a fatal heroin overdose. Next, Nassau County officials started a new awareness and educational campaign aimed at teaching young people about the dangers of heroin and addiction and stopping more young people from experimenting with the drug and becoming addicts. Narcotics investigations were then extensively increased and now officials have announced an anti-drug curriculum to further discourage new heroin addicts from developing.
Fighting Heroin Addiction in Long Island: Heroin Rehab Options
Long Island officials aren’t just talking about prevention measures and punishments to deter those already in the business; they are also looking at ways to increase the efficiency of heroin addiction treatment for those who are currently struggling with heroin addiction. Suboxone, approved by the FDA for nothing but opiate addiction treatment, is already legal and prescribed in Long Island, but Suffolk County officials are considering making the drug a part of adolescent treatment to make the withdrawal symptoms easier to cope with. The development of a Heroin Epidemic Advisory Panel is up for discussion as well.
Massapequa is one of the hardest hit areas in Long Island and a new education program called Too Good For Drugs is in the works.
Nassau County Executive Mangano says: “You cannot arrest your way out of a heroin epidemic.”
Another goal has been to help parents identify heroin use and abuse among their teens, even when they don’t display the typical symptoms associated with heroin addiction.
Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey says: “We are seeing a lot of Straight-A students and athletes that are heroin users. In almost all cases parents do not suspect their kid is a heroin user because they are doing well in school or they are involved in athletics. By the time parents become aware that there is a problem it is too late, their kids are hooked.”
Prevention education and early identification of heroin addiction and early drug treatment are the best options to help combat heroin addiction in Long Island and beyond. If there isn’t a market for the drug, the hope is that the drug dealers will go peddle their wares elsewhere or, better yet, find a new line of work.