Suffolk police responded to a string of armed robberies last week and have finally apprehended the likely suspect, Ronkonkoma resident Daniel Flynn. Flinn has been convicted of multiple felonies and was out on parole when he allegedly committed the hold-ups. Authorities say Flinn has a serious drug problem and they speculate that he may have been robbing the stores in a desperate effort to feed his increasingly expensive habit. Although he faces a string of serious criminal charges, the first order of business is to get Flinn into a drug treatment center so he can regain his lucidity and physical health.
As jarring and scary as it may be, Flinn’s story is hardly unique. It is yet another indicator of the devastating toll that heroin and other opioids are taking on Long Island communities as well as those all over the country. Perhaps the only solace we can take from this incident is that authorities recognized that it was important that Flinn receive treatment first, a departure from conventional thinking. Perhaps this is the sign of a more progressive and scientific approach to dealing with substance abuse at the community level. Historically, authorities have been known to use an enforcement-first approach.
If you or someone you care about have experienced legal issues due to an addiction or mental health issue, it’s imperative that you break the cycle and get the help you need now. Long Island has seen first-hand that addiction doesn’t discriminate based on race, economic status or cultural background. There are dozens of people like Flinn every day making choices that are arguably not their own. Don’t let addiction or substance abuse destroy your life. Start fighting back and reclaiming your future. No matter how bad things may seem, it’s never too late to turn it all around.