Long Island Addiction


>>>GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO METROFOCUS. I’M RAFAEL PI RAMAN. WE BEGIN TONIGHT WITH TROUBLING NEW NUMBERS IN AMERICA’S WORSENING OPIOID EPIDEMIC. ACCORDING TO RECENT NUMBERS FOR THE KRERNDS FOR DISEASE CONTROL OPIOID JUMPED BY 30% IN ONE YEAR. OPIOIDS ARE UP ACROSS EVERY AGE GROUP AND IN EVERY REGION OF THE COUNTRY INCLUDING OURS. LONG ISLAND HAS BEEN HIT ESPECIALLY HARD. ACCORDING TO OFFICIAL REPORTS ABOUT 600 LONG ISLANDERS DIED FROM OPIOID OVERDOSES LAST YEAR ALONE. ONE COMMUNITY AT THE HEART OF THE CRISIS IN MASSAPEQUA ARE WAU IN NASSAU COUNTY. AND JOINING ME NOW IS COUNTY EXECUTIVE LAURA CURRAN WORKING WITH POLICE AND HEALTH PROFESSIONAL TO TRAFFIC OVERDOSES. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US TODAY.>>THANK YOU, RAFAEL.>>BEFORE WE GET TO THE SOLUTIONS LET’S TALK ABOUT THE PROBLEM. COULD YOU ELABORATE ABOUT THE PROBLEMS OF OPIOIDS PARTICULARLY IN YOUR COUNTY.>>WE REALLY DO HAVE A MUSHROOMING EPIDEMIC YOOS LONG ISLAND AND IN OUR COUNTY. LAST YEAR WE SAW 800 OVERDOSES, 200 — ALMOST 200 OF WHICH WERE FATAL. IT’S A REAL PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS. IF YOU HAD THAT MANY PEOPLE MURDERED IN OUR COUNTY, THAT WOULD BE — THERE WOULD BE SUCH OUTRAGE.>>SO LET’S TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE SOLUTIONS YOU HAVE RECENTLY INTRODUCED A PROGRAM CALLED O.D. MAP. TELL US WHAT THAT IS AND TELL US HOW IT’S HELPING TO DEE DEAL WITH THE CRISIS.>>OUR POLICE COMMISSIONER PATRICK RYDER CAME UP WITH THIS O.D. MAP TARGETING CRIMES ASSOCIATED WITH DRUG USE, FOR INSTANCE PEOPLE BREAKING INTO CARS THOSE KINDS EVER LARCENIES, OVERLAYING THE STATISTICS WITH WHERE THE OVERDOSES ARE HAPPENING. WHEN YOU HAVE A CLUSTER OF THOSE TWO EVENTS HAPPENING, OVERDOSES AND LARCENIES YOU KNOW YOU HAVE A HEROIN PROBLEM THERE. WE USE THE REALTIME REPORT AND BRING IN THE POLICE FORCE TO DO ARRESTS AND ENFORCEMENT. WITH YOU BUT WE CAN’T ARREST OUT OF CRISIS. WE ARE WORKING ON AWARENESS AND PREVENTION AND TREATMENT AS WELL. OUR DISTRICT ATTORNEY IS WORKING HARD ON FILLING THE TREATMENT GAP. BECAUSE SOMEONE CAN BE TREATED WITH THE MEDICINE CALLED NARCAN WHEN THEY’RE OVERDOSED BROUGHT BACK FROM AN OVERDOSE AND THEN THERE IS NO TREATMENT. THEY’RE PUT BACK OUT ON THE STREET.>>WE’LL TALK ABOUT THAT BEFORE THIS CONVERSATION IS OVER. BUT GOING BACK TO O.D. MAP, TO WHAT DEGREE DOES THAT GO BEYOND LAW ENFORCEMENT AND ARREST SNS TO WHAT DEGREE DOES THAT DEAL WITH THE TREATMENT YOU SAY IS NECESSARY?>>WELL THAT’S SUCH A GREAT QUESTION. WE HAD AN OPERATION — WE HAD TWO SO FAR. ONE IN MASSPEQ ACHLT UA. TLRT 60 ARRESTS OF — DRUG RELATED ARRESTS. OF THOSE FOUR WHERE A WERE DEALERS. THE USERS AND ADDICTS ONCE ARRESTED WE CAN STEER THEM TOWARD DIVERSION AND TREATMENT THAT’S WHERE THE HEALTH PROFESSIONALS COME IN.>>NEWS WEEK RECENT HAD AN OP-ED WHICH ECHOED WHAT YOU SAID, YOU’RE DOING A GREAT JOB BUT MORE TREATMENT AND RESOURCES ARE NECESSARY. ARE YOU GETTING THE NECESSARY RESOURCES FROM THE STATE AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO DEAL WITH THIS IN YOUR COUNTY.>>WE HAVE TO HARNESS THE RESOURCES THAT ARE AVAILABLE RIGHT NOW. MAKE THE MOST OF WHAT WE HAVE. ANOTHER THING WE HAVE TO DO IS REALLY ENGAGE WITH OUR SCHOOLS. AND THAT’S A CONVERSATION THAT WE’RE HAVING NOW. SEE IN OUR COUNTY WE HAVE 56 INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICTS — THEY’RE THEIR OWN ENTITIES. WE ARE ENGAGING WITH EACH AND EVERY ONE TO TRY TO TACKLE THIS CRISIS.>>SO IN CRISIS, THE OPIOID CRISIS, THE PRESIDENT, PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS SAID IT IS PARTICULARLY IMPORTANT TO HIM. HAVE — HAS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IN FACT DEMONSTRATED THAT THIS IS — THIS IS A CRISIS AND HELPED YOU SUFFICIENTLY?>>YOU KNOW, WE’RE WORKING WITH OUR CONGRESS — DSH OUR CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION GETTING RESOURCES WE NEED AND WORKING WITH THE STATE. BUT ALSO CLOSELY WITH THE COMMUNITIES. SO WE HAVE COMMUNITY FORUMS FOR INSTANCE WE HAD ONE WHERE SCORES OF RESIDENTS TURNED OUT. THEY’RE LICENSING TO POLICE OFFICERS, DRUG RESOURCE EXPERTS AND GETTING EDUCATED SO PARENTS CAN GET EDUCATED. WHAT ARE THE WARNING SIGNS, YOU KNOW THE PINPRICK PUPILS FOR PEOPLE ON OPIOIDS. WHAT ARE THE DANGER SIGNS? BECAUSE ALL TOO OFTEN A CHILD DIED AND THE PARENT HAD NO IDEA THE CHILD WAS USING OR THE FRIENDS KNEW AND NEVER TOLD. IT’S GETTING TO ROOT AND LETTING PEOPLE BE AWARE. THAT’S THE PREVENTION AND THE EDUCATION PIECE.>>ACCORDING TO THE C.D.C. WHAT’S MAKING THIS CRISIS PARTICULARLY DEADLY WHAT’S KILLING PEOPLE IS THE SYNTHETIC OPIOID FENTANYL. ARE YOU SEEING THAT?>>ABSOLUTELY IT’S SO DANGEROUS. AND MIXED WITH HEROIN OR SOLD INSTEAD EVER HEROIN AND MANY TIMES STRONGER THAN HEROIN AND MORE PURE. AND THAT’S WHY WE SEE THE SPIKE OF OVERDOSES. AND — THE NARCAN THAT — I FORGET THE GENERIC NAME, THE BRAND NAME IS A GOD SEND BECAUSE IF SOMEONE IS OVERDOSING YOU CAN TREAT THEM WITH NARCAN. THEY’RE BACK IMMEDIATELY. ON THE OTHER HAND, IF YOU DON’T HAVE THE TREATMENT PART THEN THEY JUST GO RIGHT BACK TO USING.>>AND TALKING ABOUT NARCAN, I MEAN SOME PEOPLE SAY THERE IS A NEGATIVE ASPECT TO IT, UNINTENDED NEGATIVE ASPECT THAT SOME ADDICTS USERS BELIEVE THAT NARCAN WILL SAVE THEM FROM AN OVERDOSE DEATH IF THEY DO OVERDOSE AND THAT MAKES THEM EASE UP ON CONCERN. ARE YOU FINDING THAT.>>ABSOLUTELY. YOU HEAR ABOUT THE INCIDENTS, THE ANECDOTES OF PEOPLE GETTING TOGETHER DOING HEROIN OR FENTANYL OR THERE IS NARCAN IN LET MIDDLE OF THE TABLE SO IF SOMEONE OVERDOSES THEY CAN TREAT THEM AND GO BACK ON TO PARTYING AGAIN. IT’S A PROBLEM.>>ARE YOU DEALING WITH THAT PROBLEM.>>IT’S A REAL DOUBLE EDLIN SWORD. IT’S A GOD SEND BECAUSE IT COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE AND PUT YOU ON THE RIGHT PATH BACKUP WITH YOU HEAR FROM THE POLICE OFFICERS THAT THEY TREAT — OR FIREFIGHTERS ARE ALSO TRAINED — ALL OF THE FIRST RESPONDERS ARE TRAINED IN HOW TO USE IT. YOU OVERDOSE ON FRIDAY, SATURDAY. BY SUNDAY YOU’RE USING AGAIN AND THEN OVERDOSE AND YOU’RE DEAD.>>IN ABOUT 30 SECONDS THAT WE HAVE LEFT, WHAT’S YOUR PROGNOSIS IS THIS CRISIS GETTING WORSE BEFORE IT’S BETTER.>>I THINK WE ARE AHOLD OF IT. I’M SO HAPPY WITH THE POLICE COMMISSIONER AND THE O.D. MAP USING REALTIME REPORTING TO ZERO IN, HOLD DEALERS ACCOUNTEDABLE AND GET ADDICTS AND USERS TREATMENT THEY NEED TO GET THEM OUT OF THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL OF ADDICTION.>>ALL RIGHT. COUNTY EXECUTIVE CURRAN THANK YOU FOR JOINING US TODAY. IT’S BEEN AN IMPORTANT CONVERSATION.
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>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

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