by Eden Laikin
Representatives from Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano’s office testified at a State Senate Task Force hearing this week on Heroin and Opioid Addiction. The hearing – the first of 12 to be held across the state – took place at Suffolk Community College’s Brentwood Campus, and aimed to gather information on methods to combat the statewide crisis.
The Long Island forum was moderated by Senator Jack Martins, and joined by Task Force members Senators Phil Boyle, Kemp Hannon, Carl Marcellino and John Flanagan. The panel consisted of numerous experts in the fields of drug prevention, treatment and recovery, as well as education and law enforcement. The discussion touched on a wide variety of topics related to heroin and opioid addiction and suggestions were made for potential future legislation.
Dr .James Dolan, director of the Nassau County Office of Mental Health and Chemical Dependency talked about the need to simultaneously treat a person’s substance abuse issue and the often underlying mental illness. Other topics included the fight for better insurance coverage for in-patient substance abuse treatment, the need to regulate sober homes, and the accessibility of Naloxone or Narcan as an antidote to a fatal Opioid overdose.
A couple who lost their son to an overdose and two young people in recovery from addiction spoke to the crowd. A dozen other parents who lost children to drug addiction sat in the audience.
If you have ideas for new legislation to combat the drug abuse crisis, contact Sen. Boyle’s district at: (631) 665-2311 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.