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Letter: LI sadly in denial about heroin use

A heroin addict injects a heroin shot in

A heroin addict injects a heroin shot in a room, at the Konsumraume (consumption room) in Berlin. (Nov. 5, 2012) Photo Credit: Getty Images

I read with great disappointment your articles "Deadly turn to heroin" and "Antidote seen as lifesaving" [News, March 11].

My disappointment was not with the reporting, but because opiate and opioid substance abuse has not been sufficiently addressed by policy-makers. Greater numbers of heroin overdose deaths should not be a surprise, and can be expected to increase, if authorities are correct in their assessment that a dwindling supply of prescription pain medication, illegally obtained, is driving the switch to heroin.

Newsday reports that 110 people on Long Island died from heroin overdoses in 2012. Based on Long Island's population, the deaths are about four times the national average.

Suffolk County Legis. Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) should be acknowledged for her efforts in bringing addiction to the attention of the public by introducing a bill to require the county health department to refer those treated with naloxone to addiction treatment centers.

In 1998, following an extraordinary increase in emergency medical responses to heroin overdoses, I was asked to speak at a local school district drug and alcohol awareness seminar. It is disappointing that after 15 years, no discernible progress seems to have been made.

Anthony E. Conrardy, Centereach

Editor's note: The writer is the paramedic program director for the North Shore-LIJ Health Center's Emergency Medical Institute.