It’s an issue that affects children and school communities across the country and one with potentially devastating consequences. Drug addiction in Nassau County has been at the forefront in many neighborhoods in recent years, but what’s the best way to combat it?
“This is something that crosses racial lines [and] socioeconomic lines,” said Kristen Fexas, deputy bureau chief of street narcotics and gang bureau for the Nassau County district attorney’s office. “There’s no school district that isn’t touched by this issue.”
Fexas led a presentation last Tuesday at East Rockaway High School in which she outlined a myriad of substances that students have been abusing in recent years, including heroin and prescription pills. She told the roughly 60 people in attendance that the best way to prevent drug addiction is to educate students and parents on the issue. The Coalition for Youth in East Rockaway and ERHS sponsored the presentation to help spread the word.
“If they’re going to be exposed to it whether we like it or not,” Fexas said of students and drugs, “they should have the information [so] they can go out, enjoy themselves, but be safe. At the end of the day that’s the most important thing.”
Fexas has been giving the “Not My Child” presentation since 2008, which was the height of heroin abuse amongst young Nassau County residents, she said. “Unless our kids just stay in a bubble and never go outside, which is not realistic, this is something that they will inevitably be exposed to,” she said.
Superintendent Lisa Ruiz said the presentation was very informative and added that anything to heighten community awareness of the issue is a positive thing. “I think it was a really good opportunity for parents to recognize the seriousness of the problem because they are the first defense,” she said.