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Letter: Disappointed by Meager Showing at LCC Drug Meeting

On Monday, June 28 the Levittown Community Council sponsored a drug and alcohol seminar held at Levittown Memorial Education Center on Abbey Lane.  The presenters were Gene Gallagher and Lisa Kessler from Central Nassau Guidance of Hicksville, who have been providing services in mental health and substance abuse for over 38 years.  

Mr. Gallagher explained the different programs available to the community for loved ones suffering from drug addiction and/or mental health issues. Ms. Kessler went into more specifics about their outpatient and chemical dependency program, and took questions from the floor related to steps parents can take and what to look for should they suspect that their child is using drugs, which in some cases can be purchased online, in head shops or found in your own medicine cabinet.  She also spoke about those children who may be predisposed to alcohol addiction should they have a parent with a similar addiction.  Supporting material was available to help open up a dialog with your child should you harbor any suspicions.

 It was extremely informative and enjoyed by everyone who attended.  But, here lies the problem.  Fliers regarding the program were distributed to the elementary schools during the last weeks of school; notices appeared in local storefront windows and distributed at the Levittown carnival this past weekend. In all, 7,000 Fliers were distributed.  Twenty or so active members of the council, a married couple who live by the Division Avenue High School, and a close friend of mine attended this meeting.  It was very disheartening to see so many empty chairs.  

Although invited to speak, our local police department’s POP unit of the 8th Precinct did not attend the meeting. This was unfortunate because the parents from Division Avenue needed help, as their complaints to the police department regarding all the empty heroin bags that keep accumulating in the area between the high school and the flea market have gone unanswered.  When they asked the police to spend some time investigating this problem, they were told that they did not have enough surveillance cops to do this.

 Lisa Kessler gave that couple some suggestions on whom to contact next, and she also will bring the matter up with the Heroin Task Force that she is associated with.  Another member of the council mentioned all the heroin bags that were found at the courts on Wantagh Avenue.  Another member spoke about the kids hanging out at the sump on Azalea Lane, drinking and lighting bonfires, which could be very dangerous.  

Heroin is very addictive – a bag can be purchased for $5 but in time, one bag a day may not be enough.  Lisa Kessler explained that some kids wind up needing seven or eight bags a day as, over time, their bodies need more in order to get the same high.  This is a problem that affects the whole community; whether you have very young children, older children or no children living at home.  You need money to feed an addiction habit. There are several ways to acquire money: you earn it, which is difficult to do in this economy, you get it from your parents or family members, or you start stealing in order to support your habit.  One day your young child may leave their bicycle in front of your house and it may be gone by the time they get back.  Last week a friend of mine caught some kids who took the tires off his car in his own driveway during the day, and were hauling them away on their bicycles. So, you see, this is how we are all affected.  I don’t know what the answer is, but I do feel that the community needs to stay informed and work as a team when issues like this arise.

The Levittown Community Council was established in 1998 to discuss issues that are affecting our community, to exchange ideas for its betterment, and to work in harmony with our neighbors to encourage a positive identity for the areas defined by the Levittown and Island Trees school districts.  We are planning to provide other seminars during the upcoming school year, and perhaps start a community project for the betterment of our neighborhood and our children. I hope you will consider attending as we will all benefit by being a unified force.

Pat Patane