In the latest in a string of public efforts to combat heroin on Long Island, Nassau County officials will begin two campaigns intended to educate families and slow the flow of drugs over the New York City line.
A county-funded ad campaign to begin in the coming weeks will focus on families and show "the new face of heroin" to parents who may not be aware that young adults and teens are increasingly using the drug, officials said. The campaign will launch as posters, newspaper ads and other print media before moving to radio and television.
"It is never too early to warn your children about the mortal dangers of this awful, evil drug," said Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, who will announce the initiative in Mineola Thursday with Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey.
Police will also assign additional detectives and a canine unit to the department's narcotics-vice squad for Operation HALT. Mulvey said the operation will target typical Long Island heroin dealers: addicts driving back from meetings with larger-scale dealers in Brooklyn and Queens, who then sell the drugs to other users.
"There will be interdiction at the county line," Mulvey said.
The new campaigns follow several other public and private anti-heroin initiatives during the last three years as the potency of the drug has been high and the price as low as $5 a dose. Both county departments have beefed up anti-narcotics teams, driving up arrest numbers for heroin and opiate prescription pills like Percocet. Both county legislatures passed laws in 2008 related to tracking heroin arrests and making notifications to schools.
In recent months, Suffolk County officials distributed home drug-test kits and offered rewards for tips on drug sales.
The 11 a.m. news conference at police headquarters will be preceded by a closed-door meeting with representatives from Suffolk police, village and town departments across the Island, as well as FBI and NYPD, Mulvey said. The meeting will focus on information, resource sharing and intercounty trafficking.
The operation and ad campaign will be paid for with asset forfeiture funds, but no budget or time frame is in place, Mulvey said.
Mangano said he would "call on all local media to help us combat the heroin epidemic that is killing our young people."