Jeffrey Reynolds, the executive director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, said he will be resigning from the organization at the end of June to become the president and chief executive officer of the Family and Children’s Association, a move that Reynolds said was “the most difficult decision I’ve made in my life.”
Since LICADD’s inception in 2009, the organization has placed an emphasis on addressing Long Island’s increasing opiate crisis, particularly heroin. According to Reynolds, they were the first community-based organization on Long Island to administer and prescribe Naloxone, or Narcan, an opiate-reversal agent that prevents deadly overdose.
LICADD, founded in 1956, is headquartered on Old Country Road in Mineola, and has offices in Riverhead and Ronkonkoma. The FCA, also on Old Country Road in Mineola, offers a network of services and counseling for disadvantaged individuals. The FCA has existed for more than 128 years, according to its website, and serves nearly 25,000 people annually. “It’s always disheartening to leave. But I feel like [LICADD] is on solid ground,” Reynolds said. “It came down to what’s the best way for me to impact the most number of people in the shortest amount of time.”
Five years ago, Reynolds said LICADD served about 100 families. Last month, that number surpassed 860. He said it’s been interesting running the organization during the height of an Island-wide opiate crisis, and while he said he is proud of the work LICADD has done to address it, that, as a region, there is a lot more work to be done. “It’s gotten progressively worse,” Reynolds said. “By no stretch of the imagination do I think we’ve even turned a corner. My belief is that Narcan shouldn’t be the best we can do. It should be the least we can do.”
Other recent initiatives LICADD has undertaken is assisting the state Legislature in passing the I-Stop program in 2011, which restricted the supply of subscription opiates into communities.
Before leaving LICADD next month, Reynolds said his last piece of unfinished business is lessening the demand for opiates on Long Island. But he said he is heartened with the increased partnerships between law enforcement and community organizations, like LICADD, in recent years. “When there is a crisis, people tend to huddle together,” he said. “And I think that’s one of the things that’s happened here.”