“Statistics show that 70% of children who abuse prescription drugs get them from family or friends,” said County Executive Mangano. “They don’t belong in our medicine cabinets. They need to be disposed of regularly and properly so they don’t wind up in the wrong hands. I urge residents to participate in Nassau County’s Drug Disposal Programs to dispose of their unwanted, unused and/or expired drugs.”
Opiates are actually the pure natural chemicals derived from the opium of a poppy plant (they include morphine and codeine). When those basic chemicals are taken to a lab and combined with synthetic material, they become Opioids (which include Heroin and Oxycodone.) Then you have completely synthetic drugs like fentanyl.
The Nassau County Office of Mental Health, Chemical Dependency and Developmental Disabilities Services monitors the trends in our chemical dependency treatment service network that includes community and hospital-based programs in Nassau County. Felicia Schneberg from the Nassau County Office of Substance Abuse stated: “Admissions for alcohol abuse have always represented the largest number of admissions, but have been steadily decreasing. The number of admissions for heroin and prescription drugs as a primary substance of abuse has increased over the last several years. Admissions for opioids alone have increased by 60% between 2007 and 2010. Admissions for prescription drugs including Xanax and OxyContin, and other opioids such as Vicodin and Percocet, have all increased across all the different services in Nassau County. Whereas there were 747 admissions in 2007, that number increased to 1,356 in 2010, an increase of 82%. Admissions for OxyContin alone increased 160% during the same time period. Admissions to Crisis Services, which represent the highest level of care in the county, for OxyContin increased 250% from 80 admissions in 2007 to 281 in 2010. Of particular concern is that the number of admissions of young adults in the 19-26 age groups has significantly increased. These admissions place even more importance on prevention efforts aimed towards the younger population still in middle and high school and to engage parents and communities in prevention activities.”
County Executive Mangano stated: “I am directing our Nassau County Heroin Prevention Task Force to create a prescription drug abuse subcommittee, solely focused on studying the growing problem in Nassau and coming up with a series of recommendations. The task force has some time ago identified prescription pain killers as “gateway drugs” to Heroin. I ask that they continue the focus on prevention, awareness, access to treatment, legislation to track prescriptions, laws restricting opiates that can be called in to pharmacies, over prescribing and misprescribing prescription drugs.”
The subcommittee will include people from all areas including, the treatment field, recovery from drug addiction, pharmaceutical, medical, and law enforcement.
Acting Nassau County Police Commissioner Tom Krumpter stated, “We understand that there are people who really need these medications, people who have legitimate pain. That being said, one suggestion for pharmacists throughout Nassau County who fear a robbery or break-in might be to consider following the lead of other pharmacies around the state and not stock these controlled substances –not keep oxycodone in the store. The medication can be ordered for customers known to the pharmacists or who come in with valid prescriptions.”
Jeffrey Reynolds, Executive Director of LI Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (LICADD) stated: "Too many of our residents are being pulled into a difficult web of addiction thanks to the proliferation of opiate painkillers and the popular misconception that these pills are safer than street drugs because they are often prescribed by a doctor. Substance abuse is 100% preventable and we applaud County Executive Ed Mangano's continued leadership and today's call for a coordinated and focused effort to address this crisis."
Van V. from Narcotics Anonymous. (Part of the organizations’ traditions is not to use or publicize last names) said: “With the Opiates that have come on the market – like Oxycodone and Opana – we’ve seen young people - 16,17,18 years old - get to places in their addiction that took some people 35 to 40 years to get to. After the arrests, the hospitals and treatment centers, and the counseling, we’re here. We are the end of the line – where you go to stay clean and drug free a day at a time.”
If you or someone you know is dealing with drug addiction, including addiction to prescription drugs, there are treatment centers listed on the website. And there is Narcotics Anonymous, (www.NassauNA.org) which has helped thousands of addicts get and stay clean and drug-free with meetings throughout the County. For more information, please visit www.heroinprevention.com to see when the next drug reclamation event is planned for your neighborhood.
The Nassau County Executive’s Public Service Announcement on Prescription Drug Abuse can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1aRk4nM42A.