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Help available for Long Island’s opioid addicts, advocates say

During a press conference addressing the high rate

During a press conference addressing the high rate of area drug fatalities, NYS senator John Brooks along with a supporting case of law enforcement, assistant superintendent of Massapequa schools and a host of others, hold hands in unity while advising families on substance use disorder early prevention at The YES Center in Massapequa Thursday Sept. 14, 2017. Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

A state lawmaker and anti-drug advocates gathered in hard-hit Massapequa on Thursday to call attention to treatment options for people hooked on opioids.

Sen. John Brooks (D-Seaford) joined representatives of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependence, Families in Support of Treatment and other groups in informing the public that help is available for anyone struggling with addiction.

The news conference was held in response to recent data released by the Nassau County Executive’s office showing that the Massapequa area has led the county in fatal drug overdoses for the last three years.

“This epidemic is destroying our communities and it’s time for us to reclaim our children, neighbors and loved ones,” Brooks said. “ . . . We’re trying to build an army of helpers, and that’s what this is about.”

In 2015, Massapequa, Massapequa Park and North Massapequa reported a total of 10 fatal overdoses, according to county officials. That number rose slightly in 2016, with 14 deaths. So far this year, there have been nine deaths — once again the most in Nassau, records show.

Health advocates and public officials have been alarmed by the high number of fatalities that have gripped both Nassau and Suffolk counties.

There were 524 fatal overdoses last year on Long Island, with 329 in Suffolk and 195 in Nassau, according to updated county records.

This year, through Aug. 1, there have been 115 such deaths in Suffolk. As of May 29, there were 68 deaths in Nassau, records show.

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