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Long IslandNassau

Prescription drug arrests in Nassau quadruple

NCPD arrest photo of Irene Cicolello, 29, of

NCPD arrest photo of Irene Cicolello, 29, of Railroad Ave., Amityville. (March 19, 2008) Photo Credit: Handout/NCPD

The number of people arrested so far this year in Nassau for forging prescriptions for painkilling opiates has quadrupled compared with the first six weeks of 2011, officials said Thursday.

"From police to probation, Nassau County is combating the prescription drug epidemic," Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said in a news release. "Nassau County has taken the lead by implementing safety, awareness and educational initiatives for the public as well as local pharmacists."

So far in 2012, there have been 17 arrests in Nassau for prescription forgery at local pharmacies. Last year for the same time period, there were just four, according to Nassau police statistics released Thursday.

For all of 2011, there were 33 arrests for forged prescriptions for opiates, according to Nassau police statistics.

Some of those arrested this year tried to fill forged prescriptions for painkillers at several CVS locations in Nassau, police said.

In one of those cases, reported by Newsday last month, Irene Cicolello, 33, of Copiague, posed as a doctor or nurse practitioner on seven different occasions, calling in prescriptions at five different CVS stores for women whose identities had been stolen, police said. She then purchased the drugs using the women's medical plans, according to the news release.

Another person allegedly stole a prescription pad from a doctor and wrote several prescriptions for opiate drugs, officials said.

In 2009, Nassau police made 32 fraudulent prescription arrests and 388 heroin arrests. In 2010, there were 48 fraudulent prescription arrests, 418 heroin arrests and 127 opiate possession or sales arrests. In 2011, police made 227 heroin arrests and 432 opiate arrests, according to police.

The abuse of prescription drugs exploded into the headlines last year when David Laffer shot and killed four people while robbing a pharmacy in Medford on Father's Day. Off-duty ATF agent John Capano was shot to death on New Year's Eve after confronting a man police said held up a Seaford drugstore of prescription drugs and cash. The suspect also was shot to death.

With William Murphy

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