MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A law to punish adults who knowingly serve or turn a blind eye to underage drinking is about to expand on Long Island.
Now, pill popping and pot smoking could land parents behind bars.
“I’ve been to more wakes in 2 years than in my entire life of young people,” Jane Finkelstein said.
Steps from their community counseling center, and throughout the country, what may be going on behind closed doors is no secret.
“Lots of kids reporting in the schools about how many other parents get high with their kids,” YES Community Counselor, Corrine Alba said.
Some say parents are choosing to ignore the undesirable activity.
“This is a wakeup call to parents that they will be held responsible. They can’t turn a blind eye when their kids are downstairs having a party,” Nassau County DA Madeline Singas said, “They should go down and see what’s going on.”
Until now in Nassau County, the social host law applied only to alcohol served by adults to minors.
Times are changing.
“Opioids are not part of the social host law, which blew me away,” Nassau County Legislator, Laura Schaeffer said.
Schaeffer said her ‘ah ha moment’ came when contacted by the YES Community Group. They said it’s an uphill struggle if opioids and controlled substances aren’t a part of the social host law.
“The kids today are sitting around these pill parties with a bowl of pills in the middle of the table, and narcan sitting right next to them. The first kid that goes down they narcan them to bring them back, and sometimes video it and put it on social media,” acting Nassau County Police Commissioner, Patrick Ryder said.
Recovered addict Tatiana Greene has seen such house parties, and now counsels young users.
“I’m actually going to the hospital to help someone who overdosed,” shes aid.
Adults who discover opioids and other controlled substances are urged to take them to local drug drop off sites or to any Nassau Police precinct, no questions asked.
Lawmakers say the amendment will pass within a month. Now, social hosts allowing both underage booze, opioid, and marijuana parties can be punished with fines and up to a year in jail.
The change in legislation would not interfere with New York state’s good Samaritan law which encourages people to call 911 if they witness an overdose without fear of an arrest.