MINEOLA – Nassau County Executive Laura Curran today announced the formation of a policy task force that will develop an action plan to address the widespread consequences inflicted by the opioid crisis in Nassau County. The task force, co-chaired by Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder and Nassau County Legislator Siela Bynoe, will focus on identifying affected populations, specific community needs and existing barriers to necessary addiction abatement, treatment, and prevention. The task force will provide a plan of action for Nassau County after 90 days to collectively respond to these needs.
The task force, co-chaired by Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder and Nassau County Legislator Siela Bynoe, will include the following members:
“As this epidemic continues to devastate families across Nassau and across America, we are gathering our best and brightest to develop a future-focused action plan that will address long-term treatment and education needs in Nassau County,” said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran. “We cannot wait this crisis out – for every additional life we can save, there is another family that does not have to bury a loved one.”
“The Nassau County Police continues their fight against all illegal drugs which are destroying our communities and families,” said Nassau County Commissioner Patrick Ryder. “We have to keep our enforcement strategies prevalent and have to also ensure that all persons suffering from addiction have the best resources available to break the cycle of drug abuse. This is crucial for the success of the Task Force and our society.”
“Our approach to addressing the widespread and ongoing devastation caused by the opioid crisis must always be built on a foundation of innovative and collaborative solutions that emphasize prevention and promote treatment and recovery,” said Nassau County Legislator Siela Bynoe. “I am grateful for the opportunity to co-chair this task force and am committed to advocating for policies that break down barriers and ensure no one is left behind.”
Among the tasks the County Executive has asked the Opioid Crisis Action Plan task force to complete are:
Last year, Nassau County launched “Operation Natalie” to combat the opioid crisis in honor of Natalie Ciappa, a Nassau teen who died of a drug overdose. This led to Nassau PD’s implementation of the ODMap, which uses real-time reporting to identify clusters of major felonies associated with addicts, such as breaking into cars for money or items to sell. The system then overlays that information with clusters of overdoses.
ODMAP tracks these as they occur, which alerts the police about possible increases in overdoses so they can use this information on enforcement efforts in specific areas.
From 2017 to 2018, the number of fatal overdoses fell 17 percent.
County Executive Laura Curran also signed two bills in 2018 to fight substance abuse — establishing a hotline accessible around the clock and a smartphone application for referrals. The hotline bill, sponsored by Legislator Josh Lafazan, was named “Timothy’s Law” in memory of Timothy Kroll, who lost his battle with drug abuse in August 2009.
The hotline and smartphone app are intended to provide on-demand assistance and information to residents in the event of an emergency or other time of need. The 24-hour substance abuse hotline will provide access to certified substance abuse counselors and trainees who possess knowledge, training and experience in substance abuse counseling referrals.
The smartphone application for substance abuse assistance information and resources will provide prevention, treatment, and recovery resources, a NARCAN training calendar, and will include support hotline telephone numbers. These resources will support ongoing efforts by County Executive Curran’s Administration and the Nassau County Police Department, to fight the opioid epidemic by encouraging prevention, awareness and treatment options.
Additional County resources regarding opioid treatment are available below: