Program Spotlights Drug Issues Throughout Nassau County

In East Meadow alone, seven people between the ages of 20-22 have died of drug overdoses since January, police confirmed.

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.

patio miller June 04, 2012 at 11:39 AM
so sad. giving our teens the ability to be less idle and see the bigger picture of the world would lend a different perspective. the bubble of how many long island children are raised is obviously a fail- a big and deadly one. in this time and with the tools we have as parents, not offering the ability to become effective has kids in the wasted/crashing loop...opening their minds and our own is so important. we live by one of the worlds great cities, and the boredom i see in the teens is frightening. we have programs and the worlds culture at our fingertips, it is ALARMING that this vulnerable group has so much money and time to be immersed in this lifestyle. Be aware of your own and your kids lives and where the focus is. the type of car or handbag purchased is not a life. getting out and realizing you are an important part of the future is. teach your kids to be involved and get out there- afraid of the city? afraid of the diversity? afraid to have the kids be out there? I hear this over and over. wake up, seven funerals of young people. seven families destroyed...this is better? this is safe? break the bubble and reach out to see beyond this depressing existence that is NOT WORKING. there are MUCH better HIGHS in life- much better ways for thrills- that do NOT involve drugs!
paul June 05, 2012 at 02:39 AM
Thank you for the below line: "the bubble of how many Long Island children are raised is obviously a fail- a big and deadly one" NO KIDDING!!!!!! I have preached this about Long Island for many years. Knew this was a huge issue on LI even when I lived in Brooklyn. Some here still need a check up from the neck up.....
An tUasal Airgead June 05, 2012 at 01:26 PM
7 dead in 5 months! All of them 20 to 22 years old in the small area of East Meadow! If these deaths were from guns or even drunk drivers, all the media outlets would be covering it. Instead Patch is the only one I've read that points out these alarming numbers. Mike Ganci, you should post this story across the other Patch sites because this problem doesn't stop at the East Meadow borders. There is another side of the story for the families of people suffering with these addictions, but it is a controversial one. http://www.longislandpress.com/2012/04/26/drug-overdose-antidote-is-put-in-addicts-hands/
paul June 05, 2012 at 01:55 PM
I think this needs to be verified by a reliable source: "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.". Define: East Meadow School District community??? 20 - 22 year olds are not at schools in the EM school district.... Where did she get her stats? If from hospital statistics, the hospital is located in East Meadow and does not mean it was EM residents.. Just asking......
An tUasal Airgead June 05, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Try reading the top of the page where it states "In East Meadow alone, seven people between the ages of 20-22 have died of drug overdoses since January, police confirmed". Are the Police a reliable source to verify the deaths?
paul June 05, 2012 at 02:57 PM
I did read that. It also says: "Gonsalves stated they were from the East Meadow School District community." If the police take a report from NUMC it becomes an East Meadow stat, it does not mean they are from the local community. Just looking for clarification... Example: You live in Jericho and have a heart attack and are taken to NUMC and subsequently die, it is then reported as location of death East Meadow...
James Hayes June 05, 2012 at 05:56 PM
A very real problem we face. I live on the block of someone who has three drug arrests, the last for selling drugs, working their way through Nassau County Court system since 2010. I have observed hundreds of young many under 18 buying from this young man. You call the police and they say yeah yeah yeah, a car rolls by, everyone scrambles, then the selling starts all over. Unless we all start taking action this will take all our young.
An tUasal Airgead June 05, 2012 at 06:46 PM
It doesn't matter where the geographical borders were for the area where these young people lost their lives. Even if only one person lost their life from an overdose in all of Nassau County, it would still be a tragedy. Deliberately misinterpreting sentence structure or grammatical inflections does not add value to the discussion, it degrades it.
paul June 05, 2012 at 07:46 PM
To An tUasal Airgead: Yes we are aware it is and has been a real problem throughout Long Island for a long time..... Deliberately misinterpreting???? Not the case at all..... Just educating those that need it.... I was pointing out to those who read the article may have felt it was an East Meadow only problem by the way it was written, which I am aware it is a societal issue.
An tUasal Airgead June 06, 2012 at 04:33 AM
“Yes we are aware" - "WE"?? - Just how many voices are in your head? “educating those that need it”? - Wow, you’re even more delusional than I thought. I really don't have the time to waste going back and forth with you.


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