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Letters: Heroin continues stunning toll

This is an undated file photo showing packets

This is an undated file photo showing packets of heroin. Credit: Newsday / Patrick E. McCarthy

In reference to [“LI’s heroin crisis goes on,” News, Feb. 18], Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds said, “In too many cases, dazed and dope-sick young people are walking out of emergency rooms within hours of being revived with no linkage to care and at an increased risk for a subsequent fatality.” He was also quoted saying that “Insurance companies despite recent changes in state law, continue to deny access to care” for treatment.

I find this extremely disturbing. We can arrest heroin addicts for carrying and using, and send them to jail at taxpayers’ expense, but we cannot send them directly from an emergency room to a rehab facility? There, they would get the proper care and rehabilitation needed to give them a fighting chance to become productive citizens.

Maybe the money that is spent on jails and staff should go to rehab facilities and staff instead.

Linda Schneider, Miller Place

 

Two things must happen simultaneously for this epidemic to be addressed meaningfully. First, treatment programs must be expanded to allow all addicts to obtain treatment without delay.

Second, turn the cops loose. Experienced officers, especially those in specialized narcotics enforcement units, know where addictive substances are being sold and who is selling them. And they love nothing more than to lock up these sellers. However, budget constraints often prevent county executives and police brass from devoting adequate resources to catching drug dealers.

If government agencies are serious about addressing the scourge of addiction, it’s time to put the money where the problems are: at both the beginning and end of the drug addiction pipeline.

Chris Marzuk, Greenlawn

Editor’s note: The writer is a former assistant district attorney in the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor of the City of New York.

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