Prescription medications are crippling Americans all across the country. Nowhere is problem worse than Long Island, New York.
If you recall, it’s been more than a year since an unemployed Army veteran, David Laffer, hooked on prescription painkillers gunned down four people in a Medford pharmacy on Father’s Day 2011, casting a national spotlight on Long Island’s addiction epidemic. As reported in www.longislandpress.com.
Not only are prescription drugs reaching epidemic proportions, but addiction to these narcotics has created a surge in heroin use. Heroin is the readily-available cheap alternative to narcotic pain relievers.
Last year in Nassau County 151 people died from prescription drug and heroin overdoses. It is crazy to think that drug overdoses killed more people annually than vehicle crashes in the US.
In Nassau County there were 437 opiate-related arrests in 2011 and more than 350 so far this year.
Local police officers have begun carrying Narcan, an overdose antidote, in patrol cars—a move that was quickly credited with saving the lives of several young OD victims.
The surge in use of both prescription narcotics and heroin warrants a serious look at how we can prevent people from ever using these drugs in the first place. Perhaps mandatory New York drug education classes annually in middle and high school will be a start.