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Letter: Expand drug clinic service to save lives

Suffolk County police officers collect prescription drugs as

Suffolk County police officers collect prescription drugs as FREE Safe Disposal of Prescription Drugs DEA holds an event at the Town of Babylon Senior Center at Tanner Park in Copiague as part of the 10th annual National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015. Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

I read the timely article on the sorry state of our methadone clinics [“Forced to wait for treatment,” News, April 4].

It seems clear that there will be no effort by the Suffolk County Health Department to make any meaningful changes in the way the service is provided.

To quote Thomas Schmidt, clinic administrator for Suffolk’s Methadone Maintenance Treatment Program, “I wouldn’t tell anyone that they could get into treatment within a couple of days or even a couple of weeks if they called us.”

The article said methadone clinics are at capacity with a total of 1,100 clients, and new slots open as people leave. The county health department has an obligation to take a long, hard look at this.

Clinics should extend their hours. Staff them with registered nurses and on-call doctors, with some ancillary staff, and you will see the waiting list shrink and lives saved.

Chris Flanagan, Hampton Bays

Editor’s note: The writer is retired as a registered nurse specializing in substance abuse treatment.

The Rocky Point School District deserves credit for planning and holding a community forum on drugs on April 5.

There was standing room only. Speakers gave parents and their children an eye-opening education on how abuse affects adolescents.

Every district should hold these forums. Some administrators in Long Island school districts may decline to hold them, but as one speaker stated, education is not the enemy.

Further, parents were encouraged to test their adolescents for drugs. Tests are inexpensive and easily purchased online.

Drug abuse can happen in any family; children with good grades, good behavior and athletic participation are at risk as much as any kid.

Amy Catalano, Rocky Point

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