A renowned professor at Hofstra’s Center for Neurosciences lauded Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano’s latest substance-abuse prevention efforts in schools, as a model for other municipalities to follow.
Dr. Stephen L. Dewey, Ph.D., who lectures around the country about “Your Brain on Drugs,” said he heard that Nassau recently made money available for its schools to develop their own drug abuse awareness events for this Red Ribbon Week, Oct 23-31.
And, that Nassau County’s mental health and chemical dependency officials had also offered the schools several free presentations on a variety of related topics.
“May I say…this is the single most impressive thing I’ve seen from any [county] in NY in my nearly 30 years of experience in this business,” Dewey said in an email. “I wish Suffolk County had followed suit.”
Dewey remarked at what an amazing opportunity this was for all the school districts in Nassau, and lamented that only1 school district in Nassau County had reached out to him for a presentation.
“I wish more of the districts in Nassau took this issue seriously,” he said in the email. “I’ve never seen such an increase in substance abuse (specifically opiate abuse) in our school districts. It’s damn scary.”
Dewey’s been traveling around giving presentations since 1994, when he was President of his local Board of Education. Currently, he speaks almost 5 nights a week. While his presentations are free, he found that he’s had to charge for his transportation costs in order to keep the schedule feasible.
Last month, County Executive Mangano announced that the Nassau County Department of Mental Health and Chemical Dependency is funding 27 school districts and the Diocese of Rockville Centre for Red Ribbon Week activities such as making anti-substance abuse t-shirts, holding a Substance Use Awareness Walk, having an assembly program on substance abuse and bullying and bringing recovering addicts in to speak with students. The funding is part of Nassau’s Healthy Choices Program.