Nassau County: A Desperate Situation

In 2015, Nassau County saw an increase in heroin or opioid related deaths by double in comparison to the previous year. Because of this staggering increase in the number of drug related deaths, Nassau has begun hosting training seminars on the use of Narcan. Narcan is an anti-opioid drug that can reverse the effects of a drug overdose when applied. Narcan has limitations however. It only works with opioid class drugs, meaning that other sedative, alcoholic, or stimulant drugs are not effected by Narcan. Furthermore, Narcan is an emergence use only drug. It will not cure addiction and will don’t eliminate cravings. Narcan has already saved a number of lives and while it is a strong first step, it does not solve the problem of drugs in Nassau County. The number of fatalities due to drug abuse has gone down, but the total number of overdoses continues to climb.

Last year, 19-year-old Joseph Joudah had begun using heroin with his girlfriend Olivia McClellan. After shooting them both up with the drug last April, Joseph found his girlfriend dying of an overdose. Joseph fled and left Olivia to die and Joseph is now being charged with manslaughter. This story is not only sad because of the tragic loss of a life and what drug addicts drive addicted people to do, but also because this young man will be the first person prosecuted on manslaughter charges due to a heroin-related death in Nassau County. This new precedent will only continue. People will continue to put their lives at risk and people will continue to deal with the consequences of drug addiction.

Catholic priest Reverend Roberto Lubrano was arrested during a sting operation at the Bethpage Motel on the Hempstead Turnpike. He was suspected of buying Marijuana, but while being apprehended the 63-year-old admitted to be purchasing crack cocaine. Lubrano then told authorities, “I have been smoking crack cocaine ever since my sister was murdered.” A subsequent investigation revealed that Rev. Lubrano’s sister was murdered by her mentally unstable son, who then killed himself. It is becoming increasingly commonplace for people to turn to drugs as a copping mechanism. Stories like this are becoming less and less rare and show that anybody can be susceptible to drug addiction.

As more drugs are flooded into Nassau, the more people are becoming caught up in the legal implications there of. 2015 saw more drug raids and more drug arrests than the two previous years combined. One such raid in March resulted in the arrests of 47 people, 20 of whom were previously convicted felons. This raid also turned up two stolen vehicles and several illegal firearms.

Gang activity is a growing presence in Nassau County. The Bloods gang has begun to establish a stronger presence on the island in order to expand their drug networks. Many have come to the area from neighboring New York City and New Jersey. Gang violence is one of the most devastating side effects of drugs being brought into suburban communities.

As the figures for overdoses and crime goes up, so does the rate of HIV transmission. Nassau County has seen the largest jump in HIV transmission in the county since the mid 80s. The sharing of needles is the single largest factor contributing to this spike in cases. Groups of drug addicts will often resort to using the same needles to inject drugs. Many addicts also resort to prostitution to support their habit, further putting themselves at risk for potential infection. Many of these newly infected people are below the age of 25, some of which are still in high school.

The effects of the disease of addiction are far reaching, often much further than is readily apparent. From the obvious health risks to the tearing apart of entire communities, addiction has creeped into ever facet of society. With addiction comes desperation, and that desperation leads to crime such as robbery and prostitution. It ruins the life of the user and everyone that cares about them.

You can end the cycle of drug addiction today. Help is out there and is more available than ever. Long Island Addiction Resources has helped hundreds of people begin their journey from drug addiction and alcoholism. Addiction and alcoholism rob people of their very lives and dignity. We urge everyone who is struggling to take the first step to breaking the chains of addiction by calling our hotline today for a free and private evaluation.