Rocky Point school officials, alarmed by a student survey showing prevalent community drug use, plan to host a public forum Thursday to discuss efforts to discourage narcotics abuse.

In a survey and focus groups earlier this year, 40 percent of district students said drugs "are easily accessible in the community," said Rocky Point High School assistant principal Susann Crosson. She said that was higher than the national average.

"We know this is an issue and we're trying to address this as best we can," Crosson said. "I think the problem exists everywhere, and I don't think we're any different. . . . It's just across the Island. We have an issue, and we have to address it because it certainly is an epidemic."

District officials, police and representatives of local support groups are scheduled to speak at the forum, scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Rocky Point High School auditorium.

The forum is open to parents with children in grades kindergarten through 12th grade, and students in grades 6 to 12.

Suffolk police are expected to discuss abuse of prescription drugs, and sheriff's office officials are scheduled to discuss heroin, Crosson said.

The discussion is to include an overview of the district's efforts to fight drug abuse, and results of the student survey and focus group conversations. Participants will be invited to take home reading material and other resources.

Suffolk and Nassau police have said they have seen an increase in heroin arrests as abuse of opiates and painkillers has declined, partly because of stepped-up enforcement and tougher restrictions after four people were murdered at a Medford pharmacy in June 2011.

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