The drug epidemic continues to be a lingering problem throughout Nassau County, and much of it could start right at home.
Residents gathered at on May 23 for the “Not My Child Program,” which was hosted by Legis. Norma Gonsalves, R-East Meadow.
“It’s important to educate and continue to inform the people in our communities,” Gonsalves said. “Maybe, some way, these people could be instrumental in getting some young people the help they need.”
Gonsalves added that, since January, there have been seven overdose deaths of people between the ages of 20-22 in the East Meadow School District community.
According to Detective Pamela Stark, who shared various stats and insight from a police perspective, a lot of the issues start at home. Oxycodine, for one, is up in prescriptions 82 percent in the past three years, and many people are keeping it in their medicine cabinets, which leads to easy access for young people.
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“Dependency creates desperation,” Stark said. “Once these people are hooked, they will do anything to get a hold of the drugs.”
Stark said that it’s important to have a special place where prescription drugs are kept, and the medicine cabinet is not an ideal place at all.
“Sometimes somebody knocks on your door to use the bathroom,” she said. “If you let them in, you don’t supervise them while they do their business. That’s easy for them to go through your pills.”
Residents are not encouraged to simply pour excess pills down the toilet due to health concerns, but the best option is to put them in a bag and drop them off to the local precinct.
One woman who knows the drug epidemic all too well is Nora Ammirati, a Long Beach resident who is a paralegal in the Nassau County District Attorney’s office. She shared the story of a troubled boy who got involved with drugs, and his life got turned to shambles, including multiple stints in rehab and jail. She later revealed that the boy was her own son Phillip, who, to this day, remains homeless somewhere in Brooklyn.
“With all my experience with addicts, I did not recognize the addiction of my own son,” Ammirati said. “What I will tell you is that his addiction started about six years ago when a friend of his took Oxycodine out of his grandmother’s medicine cabinet.”
Residents of East Meadow took action in early April, when the Facebook group, Wake Up, East Meadow to raise awareness to the ongoing epidemic in the local area.
What do you think contributes to the drug problems throughout Nassau County? Tell us in the comments.