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Nassau bills aim to boost access to drug treatment

Nassau County Legis. Joshua Lafazan says two bills of his that are expected to come up for votes Monday will help connect residents who are addicted to opioids with professionals trained to treat them.

The first bill, called “Timothy’s Law,” would establish a 24-hour substance abuse hotline staffed by certified substance abuse counselors. The legislation is named after Timothy Kroll, who died in 2009 of an overdose at age 23.

Lafazan said he worked closely with Kroll’s mother, Teri Kroll of Lindenhurst, who has advocated for better access to addiction support and works with the nonprofit Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, based in Westbury.

The second bill creates a smartphone app with resources including a directory of substance abuse prevention, treatment and recovery services, a guide to treatment centers and hospitals searchable by ZIP code, and hotline telephone numbers.

Lafazan said the app will help reach young people and others who might not  pick up the telephone to call a hotline or treatment center for help.

“Right now it’s much harder to get help than it is to get heroin,” he said. “These two bills will have an immediate and important impact on millennials and people of all ages who are suffering from substance abuse.”

Lafazan, an independent from Woodbury who caucuses with Democrats, said the support of Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park) and Legis. Laura Schaefer (R-Westbury) was key to getting the proposals on the legislative calendar. The GOP controls the 19-member county legislature.

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