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Monday, October 5, 2015
Another heroin death
Experts voice concern as use increases in L.B.
Courtesy Long Beach Medical Center
Courtesy LBMC Supervisor Kristen Snipp with drawings created by clients in art therapy at the Chemical Dependence Unit at Long Beach Medical Center.

While no one may be dealing heroin in Long Beach, some local people are overdosing on the drug.

“Our intelligence tells us that to get heroin, you have to go outside Long Beach,” said Inspector Bruce Meyer, a Police Department spokesman. That conclusion is based in part on police interviews with the handful of people who were arrested last year for heroin possession, and said they scored the drug elsewhere. That was also the LBPD’s finding when it investigated two recent heroin-related deaths in the city.

On Dec. 11, police found a 23-year-old woman dead in her home, and on Jan. 12, they found a 19-year-old woman in the same circumstances. Both appeared to have injected themselves, and investigators determined that they had purchased the heroin in either Queens or, more likely, Brooklyn, Meyer said.

The deaths are signs of an upswing in heroin use, not just in Long Beach but county- and nationwide, and local authorities are stepping up prevention efforts to try to quell the potential epidemic. In recent years, use of the drug, particularly among young people ages 16 to 19, has been on the rise.

With some 400 people arrested for possession or distribution around Nassau County in 2009, the theory that the drug is confined to urban areas and a narrow demographic has been discarded. Heroin was once sold openly on street corners in crime-ridden neighborhoods, but now it is crossing all ethnic, economic and racial lines, and is bought and sold in restrooms at fast-food restaurants, gas stations and schools.

“These were your average people who go and buy their drugs in New York City and then they come back and, in the privacy of their homes, they’re injecting themselves with heroin,” Meyer said of the two Long Beach victims.

People involved in treating heroin addicts say the gateway to the drug is right in their family bathroom. Patricia Hincken, director of alcohol and substance abuse at the Long Beach Medical Center, said that the volume of prescription painkillers being prescribed to people statewide has increased more than 150 percent over the past decade.


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Alcohol. Heroin. Prescription medication. They are everywhere ... they are here, in our town, our schools and in some cases, our homes. Substances that reside in our society, secretly touching our everyday lives, never knowing when they will hit home and reek havoc.

That I for one, cannot understand how our society has spiraled into such a place ... a place where news about alcohol and drug related deaths is common, every day reading. How even in our awareness of knowing the consequences of these substances, their use and presence in our daily lives continues to grow.

How our young people are especially vulnerable in suffering the consequences of alcohol and drug use which is why it is so critical to educate and expose them to the realities of alcohol and drug related issues. How personally speaking, no one should have to go through what I and so many countless others have had to go through as a result of someone else's choice to irresponsibly use a substance of choice. To share, that there is absolutely nothing good about finding yourself one day walking down the path of overwhelming grief due to the sudden loss or injury of a loved one. Nothing glamorous about finding yourself standing on the edge of both life and death. It's not something anyone should have to go through, nor is this something anyone should feel passive about. For a life lost, is lost forever ... and I for one can tell you, you never stopping missing the life of a loved one.

...Donna Pisacano-Brown

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