New law to combat heroin use
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Though several attorneys assured lawmakers that liability would not be an issue, Republicans were skeptical, questioning them on their expertise in such cases and accusing one of being invited to support the bill on Mejias's behalf. They demanded that a county attorney make such an assurance. After nearly two hours of argument, Myles Kuwahara, deputy county attorney for the legal counsel bureau of the county attorney's office, told the Legislature that schools are often notified of heroin-related cases that police discover, anyway, so while the new law will increase notification and with it the possibility of potential lawsuits, any litigation brought against the county or schools would be "foolhardy."
"I think there's a possibility that it may increase the number of notifications that are made to the school," said Kuwahara. "And that may increase the possibility that a plaintiff's attorney may attempt and I think it would be a foolhardy attempt to bring a negligent action against either the school or the county."
Before the bill was approved, it was amended to include a provision that the Nassau County Police Department "establish and implement a Nassau Drug Mapping Index (NDMI) website available to the public that will map arrests for possession and sale of heroin and include the nature and class of the arrest, the alleged offender's age and the date, time and location of the arrest."
Before he signed the measure into law, Suozzi spoke briefly of the steadily increasing use of heroin by the countys youth, even those as smart and beautiful as Natalie Ciappa was. "Here in Nassau County, we see a growing use of heroin because it's cheaper and more potent," he said. "We need to do a better job to better communicate with parents and schools about what is happening. This is a tool in the arsenal to help school districts to help with this problem."