MASSAPEQUA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — One Long Island town is taking action as the national opioid crisis worsens in their community.
As TV 10/55 Long Island Bureau Chief Richard Rose reported Thursday night, public safety employees are now being trained on how to use Narcan, a proven antidote for opioid overdoses.
Nearly 50 Oyster Bay town employees are now trained to administer Narcan and will soon be equipped with it.
In Massapequa, there have been 20 opioid overdoses in the past year.
Social worker Margaret O’Connell counsels opioid addicts, saying many of the youngest ones get hooked because they lack structure in their lives.
“They have a lot done for them, so their ability to be able to be able to manage difficult feelings like anxiety or depression become more challenging,” O’Connell said.
O’Connell coordinated a local anti-heroin coalition that located and tried to help groups of addicts found together in secluded places like the Massapequa preserve.
The coalition points to the town-owned John J. Burns park, where addicts gather to share opioid pills bought on the street or shoot up heroin.
Matt Ferrugia, 17, is not surprised. His best friend became hooked after his opioid-addicted father committed suicide.
“He was an addict himself as a result of his father, and it impacted him because it put him through a lot of stress,” Ferrugia said.
Town officials said fighting a worsening opioid crisis is an uphill trek, and these are the first steps.
It is not just Massapequa. There have been about 500 opioid overdose deaths on Long Island just in the past year.