Tags Posts tagged with "Substance Abuse"

Substance Abuse

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The landing page of the Suffolk County Sheriff's Office's new website. TBR News Media

The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office has launched a redesigned website at www.suffolksheriff.com. The project was one of newly-elected Sheriff Errol Toulon Jr.’s first priorities, saying he wanted to ensure that the public had easy access to information, like visiting and bail instructions; filing for income and property executions; volunteer and intern opportunities; and the wide array of special programs offered by the sheriff’s office.

A look at some of the services available from the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office. TBR News Media

“The redesigned website is easier to navigate and contains information on so many of the services that we offer to the public,” Toulon said. “I wanted it to be user-friendly, informative and modern, and I think we hit the mark.”

One of Toulon’s priorities is educating the public about substance abuse, with a focus on prevention. Links to resources are available directly from the homepage.

“I intend to be very outspoken about the drug epidemic, and we will be continually posting information and updates on our website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube,” Toulon said. All of the sheriff’s social media accounts are accessible to users navigating through the site.

The sheriff’s office offers Personal Jail Tours for young people, and a tracking device called Project Lifesaver that provides another level of safety for individuals that wander due to cognitive impairments.

Lit luminaires light up the night during the third annual Lights of Hope event in Port Jefferson on Aug. 31. Photo by Nora Milligan

It’s no time to pass the buck.

When it comes to the rising opioid abuse issue coursing through Long Island’s veins, we want to make sure we continue the open dialogue.

As you finish reading this edition, we hope you reflect on how this growing problem affects you, your family, your friends and everyone else around you — we can’t hide from this.

We need to take a more head-on approach to this medical issue, and accept that it is a medical problem, and not as some say a moral failing.

Parents shouldn’t let the stigma attached to drug or substance abuse keep them from talking about it. If we are to learn and grow and recover, we need to be talking. If we hide from the issue, the results will most certainly be fatal.

This is a problem that requires a collaborative effort, including prevention through education and early identification of at-risk people, enforcement with sharper penalties to dealers and prescription writers and improved rehabilitation resources and strategies. And as this issue should reflect, many groups on the North Shore are dedicated to working together to fight this crisis.

A cooperative combination of all of these things can help get Long Island headed in the right direction. Listed below are several resources if you or a loved one is struggling with substance or drug abuse.

• Suffolk County Substance Abuse Hotline: 631-979-1700

• Hope House Ministries: 631-978-0188

• Response of Suffolk County 24-hour hotline: 631-751-7500

• Prevention Resource Center: 631-650-0135

• Phoenix House’s Edward D. Miller substance abuse treatment center: 844-296-9046

• Samaritan Village’s Suffolk Outpatient Treatment Program: 631-351-7112

• St. Charles Hospital rehab program: 631-474-6233

• New York State HOPEline: 1-877-8-HOPENY

Suffolk County Division of Community Mental Hygiene Services: 631-853-8500

Visit http://www.suffolkcountyny.gov/substanceabuse for a downloadable prevention, treatment and recovery services directory, which gives a list of service agencies and treatment centers on Long Island.

By Elana Glowatz

A 24-hour substance abuse hotline went live on April 1, providing Suffolk County residents with a new resource to help with battling addiction.

The Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence is operating the new hotline — 631-979-1700 — and will help callers get screenings, referrals and follow-ups, directing them to local resources that will help them or loved ones overcome addiction.

A flyer advertises a new substance abuse hotline. Image from the Suffolk County health department
A flyer advertises a new substance abuse hotline. Image from the Suffolk County health department

Officials announced the initiative at the end of February, calling it a partnership between the county, Stony Brook Medicine and the state’s health department, as well as private and public community partners in the substance abuse field. Those officials said having a single phone number for all those resources is key.

“This initiative will provide [the] opportunity for addicts to reach out during their time of need and access treatment and support options easily,” Suffolk County Legislator William “Doc” Spencer (D-Centerport) said in a previous statement. “Often, there is a critical and brief period of time when a person sees clarity and makes the decision to seek help. This hotline can be fertile ground for change and recovery as it can quickly link residents to crucial health care services.”

LICADD itself noted in a recent statement about the hotline that “the time to seek treatment is ‘now’” and that sometimes the “now” is late at night, early in the morning or on weekends or holidays. The agency also said that the period in which an addict is willing to get treatment could close without immediate help, due to “the pathology of denial, obsession and fear which often defines substance use disorders.”

Community leaders have ramped up efforts to fight opioid addiction in recent years while seeing an increase in heroin and prescription painkiller abuse and overdoses across Suffolk County. Those efforts have included more directed police enforcement and informational meetings. Police officers have also started carrying the medication Narcan, which can temporarily stop opioid overdoses and has been used hundreds of times in Suffolk.

Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket), who authored the law that put Narcan into officers’ hands, said about the new hotline, “Every second counts to a mother whose son or daughter was found and saved from overdosing. And every hour and every day that slips by trying to find quality, affordable, accessible treatment is critical.”

For 24/7 substance abuse help, call 631-979-1700.

To report drug activity to the police, call 631-852-NARC.

The county health department will provide oversight and analyze data to monitor the hotline’s effectiveness, and identify trends and emerging issues in the community.

At the same time the drug abuse hotline went live, the Suffolk County Police Department announced another phone number, this one a 24-hour tip line for residents to report drug activity in their neighborhoods.

“We are asking the public’s help to fight this scourge, and with the public’s help, we can make a real difference,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Tim Sini said in a statement.

Residents can call 631-852-NARC anonymously to report information about local drug dealers, and authorities will investigate the tips. Even anonymous callers can receive cash rewards for tips that lead to arrests.

“If you see something, say something and Suffolk County police will do something about it,” Sini said.

File photo

The path to overcoming opioid addiction will soon be just a phone call away, thanks to a new initiative that the Suffolk County Legislature announced last week.

A new full-service substance abuse hotline will serve as what officials called a lifeline to residents battling drug addiction, which lawmakers have been struggling to address across Long Island for years. To get there, the county teamed up with Stony Brook Medicine and the state’s health department as well as the county’s private and public community partners in the substance abuse field to allow residents to call to get screenings, referrals and follow-ups.

The Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence will operate the 24-hour hotline and direct callers to those resources. Providing a single phone number to call for a myriad of resources and services is key to assisting those who are battling addiction and their families, officials said.

“Like many places in this country, Suffolk County is facing an opioid epidemic of historic proportions,” County Executive Steve Bellone (D) said in a statement. “We need to tackle this epidemic on all fronts — including prevention, treatment and law enforcement.”

Bellone said his administration has made it a top priority to “explore and launch new, evidence-based tools” to help address the region’s fight against heroin and opioid use.

“The creation of a local 24/7 hotline is now another tool in our arsenal to assist those who are battling opioid and heroin addiction and their families,” he said.

The hotline will become live by April, Bellone said, and the Suffolk County health department will provide oversight and analyze data to monitor its effectiveness and identify trends and emerging issues in the community.

“Every second counts to a mother whose son or daughter was found and saved from overdosing,” said Suffolk Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket). The majority leader was the author of several laws credited with preventing more than 1,000 opioid overdoses in Suffolk County since the summer of 2012, including one that gave police access to Narcan, a medicine that stops such overdoses. “And every hour and every day that slips by trying to find quality, affordable, accessible treatment is critical.”

Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville) said the initiative is essential, as heroin deaths in the county have nearly tripled since 2010.

“This alarming data demands our immediate attention,” he said. “A centralized hotline for people in crisis is a critical step toward saving lives, but we must do more. My colleagues and I look forward to our continued work with both the county executive and officials from Nassau County as together we fight to stem Long Island’s heroin epidemic.”

County Legislator William “Doc” Spencer (D-Centerport) echoed the same sentiments and said the area’s substance abuse issue was pervasive and touched the lives of more than those who suffered from addiction.

“This initiative will provide [the] opportunity for addicts to reach out during their time of need and access treatment and support options easily,” he said. “Often, there is a critical and brief period of time when a person sees clarity and makes the decision to seek help. This hotline can be fertile ground for change and recovery as it can quickly link residents to crucial health care services.”

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CN Guidance & Counseling Services is setting up shop at Horizons Counseling & Education Center on Main Street in Smithtown. Photo by Jared Cantor

The fight against drug abuse has a new home in Smithtown.

In response to a multiyear surge of heroin and opiate pill use across the North Shore and greater Long Island, CN Guidance & Counseling Services, which works on addressing substance use and mental health disorders, has launched outpatient detoxification and withdrawal support services to residents of Smithtown.

Two new sites — one at Horizons Counseling & Education Center at 161 East Main St. in Smithtown and the other at CN Guidance’s main office at 950 S. Oyster Bay Road in Hicksville — have begun delivering a combination of services to local residents addicted to opiates. The services, supported by funds from both county governments, include assessment, detoxification, symptom relief with addiction medications, monitoring of vital signs and instant connection to longer-term treatment and relapse prevention.

Heroin killed a record-high 144 people on Long Island in 2013, a death toll increasing 91 percent in Nassau County and 163 percent in Suffolk County since just 2010, CN said in a statement. Opioid pills, including oxycodone, were linked to 343 additional deaths on Long Island in 2012 and 2013.

“We are filling a critical gap,” said Jeffrey Friedman, chief executive officer of CN Guidance. “The havoc connected to untreated opiate addiction on Long Island has been slicing through our Long Island families and communities. These new outpatient detoxification and support services are enabling opiate-addicted individuals — and their families — to receive the help they need immediately, with no lag in connection to the longer-term treatment and recovery services they need after detoxification. If you know someone in need, please call us.”

During a studied nine-month period in 2013, 4,409 individuals requested detoxification services in Nassau County, but only 26 percent, or 1,157, were actually admitted, according to Nassau County’s Department of Human Services, Office of Mental Health, Chemical Dependency and Developmental Disabilities Services. Suffolk County struggles analogously.

Data from the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services show that 85 percent of detoxification in New York State is done in hospitals, often with long waits, at high costs and lacking results, whereas other states use such hospital-based detoxification primarily for medically or psychiatrically complicated cases. The new outpatient programs offer an alternative for the many residents who face mild to moderate severity of withdrawal from opiates, rather than severe withdrawal most commonly associated with emergency-level crises.

Because CN Guidance is a comprehensive behavioral health services provider that offers full-service care coordination, it is able to link clients in the new outpatient programs immediately to a whole array of often- needed services ranging from mental health counseling and treatment to long-term substance use treatment.

Residents and other service providers in either county may call 516-822-6111 to accesDs the program.

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The district’s newest policies were brought forth by the school board’s policy committee, which is headed by Trustee Bob Ramus, above. File photo

Port Jefferson’s school board approved district policy changes on Tuesday night that mostly regulate student behavior.

After having a first reading of the 14 new or updated policies at a meeting two weeks ago, the board of education finalized the new language regarding the dress code, substance abuse, and student conduct and discipline, among other areas, at their meeting this week.

With the adoption of the new policies, the board also deleted five old ones — the outdated versions of some of them.

One of the most significant changes is in the district’s policy on school building visitors. Previously, visitors had to report to the school office and get a visitor’s permit. And “whenever possible, entrance to the school buildings shall be restricted to entryways most effectively supervised by building staff.”

But under the new policy, visitors will be allowed inside during classes only “through the designated single point of entry, have a clear purpose and destination, and report to the designated visitor sign-in area.”

Those visitors will have to surrender their photo identification while they are in the building and wear a school-issued badge at all times.

The student dress code policy has been changed from the original to specifically list inappropriate types of clothing, leaving the language less open to individual interpretation.

“Extremely brief garments such as tube tops, net tops, halter tops, spaghetti straps, plunging necklines … and see-through garments are not appropriate,” the policy now reads. “Underwear [must be] completely covered with outer clothing.”

Previously, the policy said only that clothing could not be too revealing, a health hazard or obscene in any way.

The restriction on obscenity will remain, as the updated policy bans vulgar or obscene items on the clothing, and things that denigrate others or promote illegal activities like drug use.

Much like the dress code policy added specific banned clothing, the updated policy on substance abuse adds language to the district’s list of prohibited substances.

The list already contained substances like alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, LSD, cocaine, PCP, heroin and steroids, and now it also lists synthetic versions of those substances, regardless of whether they are illegal.