FRANKLIN SQUARE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A half-dozen more suspects were arraigned Wednesday in a massive heroin bust on Long Island.
In all, more than three dozen suspects have been nabbed over the last two days in what officials are calling one of the largest drug busts in the island’s history.
Addiction hits home for Tatiana Green.
“My little brother, he walked in on me shooting heroin when I was 17, 18-years-old,” she told CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff.
She says her addiction began with pain medications and led to near death overdoses, an arrest, and an agonizing recovery.
“When I was using, I didn’t even realize that I had an addiction,” she said.
The news of one of Long Island’s biggest heroin busts has her stunned because of its scope. In all, 36 people have been indicted and accused of peddling 4,000 decks — or doses — each week along the border between Nassau and Suffolk Counties along Route 110.
They dealt their wares in hotels, restaurants, and movie theater parking lots at all hours in the day.
The highly concentrated drug, shipped from Mexico, was packaged inside a North Amityville home.
“They have no care for the community, no care for the people they were poisoning,” Acting Nassau County Police Commissioner Tom Krumpter said Wednesday. He credits the new regional Long Island Heroin Task Force, which traced clusters of overdoses to their source.
The huge takedown will make a dent, but he says it was just “one prong of the approach.”
“I don’t think any one thing is going to impact the heroin overdoses,” he said. “It’s really about the human toll.”
Executive Director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Steven Chassman says the solution must make treatment affordable.
He says drug addiction is a sickness — and Long Island is facing an epidemic.
“You go into an inpatient facility and you’re addicted to the most addictive narcotic on the face of the planet and they approve you for five days of treatment,” Chassman said. “That’s akin to putting a band-aid on the laceration of an artery. It doesn’t work.”
Despite all their efforts, Suffolk County led the state in heroin overdose deaths last year, and Nassau County wasn’t far behind with a total of 500 lives list. That number could have been higher without the 1,300 to 1,400 lives that were saved by Narcan.
Still, there are success stories to be heard — stories like Tatiana’s.
“There is depression and anxiety that goes with getting clean,” she said. “The feeling inside that you, people don’t want to go through that… the initial withdrawal process.”
Tatiana is now making her little brother proud as a drug counselor.
Police say the suspects in this week’s bust — now dubbed the “One-Ten Crew” — were in operation for ten years.