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Nassau legislator: Lawmakers will hold hearings on opioid abuse

Nassau County Legis. Joshua Lafazan, on Thursday, Jan.

Nassau County Legis. Joshua Lafazan, on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, held a news conference in Mineola to announce bipartisan proposals to combat the county's heroin and opioid epidemic. Credit: Barry Sloan

The Nassau Legislature will hold hearings on the county’s heroin and opioid crisis, which claimed the lives of nearly 500 Long Islanders in 2016, according to freshman Democratic Legis. Josh Lafazan.

The hearings, which have the support of the GOP legislative majority, but have yet to be scheduled, would address topics including treatment, counseling and intensified training for county employees.

“It is time that Nassau County became the battleground in the fight against addiction,” Lafazan (D-Woodbury) said at a news conference Thursday in Mineola with Democratic legislators and drug treatment experts.

Lafazan called for the county to open a 24-hour open access center where individuals can receive immediate screenings, intervention and referrals to treatment facilities. Republicans support using vacant floors at Nassau University Medical Center for a drug treatment and recovery facility.

Lafazan also proposed creating a 24-hour addiction crisis hotline and training every county employee to administer the anti-overdose drug Narcan. He also said every college should offer some dormitories that are alcohol- and drug-free.

“The Legislative Majority welcomes Legislator Lafazan’s support of our efforts to address the scourge of drug abuse deaths in the county,” said Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park).

A record 190 individuals died from opioid overdoses in Nassau in 2016, records show.

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