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L.I. Officials Dealing With ‘Perfect Storm’ Of Teen Substance Abuse

Dr. Jefferey Reynolds, director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. (credit: CBS 2)

Dr. Jefferey Reynolds, director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. (credit: CBS 2)

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MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The number of teens facing a substance abuse crisis is surging on Long Island — 670 families, 10 times the normal number, sought help last month in one Mineola center.

Jeffrey Reynolds, director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, said he is now seeing the anguish and heartbreak.

Local, state and federal funding is drying up and resources aren’t there to help, yet the numbers are surging.

“This summer so far we’ve posted record numbers,” Dr. Reynolds told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan. “It’s really the perfect storm scenario.”

The numbers are staggering:

  • Prescription drug arrests are up 878 percent
  • DUI drug arrests are up 413 percent
  • Pharmacy robberies are up 100 percent
  • Hospital drug admissions are up 125 percent

“There were 22 million prescriptions for painkillers written in this state. This is a state with nineteen-and-a-half million residents, and that doesn’t include refills,” said State Sen. Kemp Hannon (R-Long Island).

Hannon chairs the Health Committee and said “We have to re-educate the physician community as to what they are doing to prescribe drugs.”

Police predict more pharmacy shootings, more carjackings, more overdose fatalities, more community turmoil and crime.

“When I was using, my life revolved around trying to get high and I would do anything at the time to do it,” one former addict said.

“Out here on Long Island, where we are reluctant to acknowledge the existence of any social problem whatsoever, this is white picket fence America. It means that things like heroin and prescription drug addiction get a 5-to-10-year running head-start on our kids,” Dr. Reynolds said.

The “I-STOP” bill to prevent doctor shopping and require real-time tracking of prescriptions was approved in Albany, but has not yet been signed into law.

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