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Nassau police to get $200,000 grant to fight opiate abuse

Nassau police are getting $200,000 in state grant funds to fight an epidemic of opiate abuse on Long Island, with the added funding aiding investigations into heroin dealers linked to fatal overdoses.

The funds will be a boon for a department trying to stem the flow of powerful heroin and opioid pills reaching buyers, while also trying to control overtime spending, officials said.

Narcotics and electronics detectives are assigned to probe each recorded overdose, tracking leads on dealers with the help of an analyst from the department's intelligence unit, officials said. For fatal overdoses, a homicide detective also is assigned.

"Our detectives are working daily to take down dealers, stop the flow of drugs into our neighborhoods and catch those responsible for the death of our young people," Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said Tuesday, praising state Sens. Jack Martins (R-Mineola) and Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City) for securing the grants.

In 2013, 44 people died of heroin overdoses and 115 died of prescription drug overdoses in Nassau, records show. The deaths reflect a national trend toward greater opiate use in recent years.

With more money available for overtime on overdose cases, investigators can work longer hours hunting dealers whose product kills dozens of county residents a year. Nassau police probes targeting the source of deadly heroin stashes have led to several arrests this year.

Two weeks after a 20-year-old Massapequa resident died of an apparent heroin overdose in April, police said they arrested two people they believed sold the drugs: Aquan Brown, 21, of Amityville and Shantiqua Brown, 24, of Patchogue. Both were charged with criminal sale and possession of a controlled substance. Further information was not immediately available.

Detectives investigating the apparent heroin overdose death of a 30-year-old Baldwin resident in July arrested Erica Fink, 26, of Franklin Square on charges of criminal sale and possession of a controlled substance, police said. Further details were not available.

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