Written by Joe Scotchie Friday, 21 May 2010 00:00
As home to such organizations as Drug Free Massapequa (DFM) and YES Community Counseling Center, the Village of Massapequa Park has become a center of anti-drug activity and awareness in Nassau County. And so, it was fitting that Nassau County Executive Edward I. Mangano would come to Massapequa to update the county’s efforts to combat drug and especially heroin addiction in Long Island.
On Friday, Mangano and the Nassau County Police Department held a “Stand Up Against Heroin” community event at the Manor East in Massapequa. There, Mangano said that the county had made 284 heroin-related arrests so far this year, up from 177 arrests made by May of 2009.
Enforcement is the first of what Mangano called the county’s three-pronged approach to the heroin problem. Enforcement includes not only more arrests, but also border control. Noting that a “cottage industry” of drug sales has grown up in Nassau County, Mangano said his office, along with the NCPD is determined to stop the flow of drugs from Queens County to Long Island.
The second approach is a parental awareness campaign. Mangano added that a common thread through cases of addiction, even those that end in fatalities is that parents were simply not aware of their children’s substance abuse problem.
Parental awareness will be raised through a Parental Awareness Ad campaign.
“[The] Parental Awareness Ads will be posted and distributed by many Nassau businesses thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and will be placed on many clothing bins owned by H & M Leasing Corp.,” Mangano said. “We are determined to get the message out there so that it will start a conversation between parents and their kids. As parents we are the first line of defense in protecting our children.”
A team of artists and experts including those from the Nassau County police department, Lucido, Koulian and Schmitt Advertising, and Jeff Reynolds of LICADD created the ad campaign. Its purpose, Mangano added, is get the attention of parents, especially those who believe their children are immune to the heroin epidemic. Other establishments assisting in the ad campaign are Sprint and Little Debbie and closer to home, the Manor East Family and A& L Limousines.
The third step, Mangano said, is education. The county plans to use its Asset Forfeiture funds to teach educators on how to implement a “Too Good For Drugs” anti-drug awareness program in the schools. Such monies will also be used to fund the anti-drug curriculum.
In addition to personnel from Sprint, Little Debbie, Manor East, and H & M Leasing, the conference was attended by representatives of the business community; the drug treatment community, including those from YES and DFM; law enforcement and government officials; and the Latino African American Chaplains Association (LACA).
“As a community we are standing up and saying no to heroin use, sale and/or distribution in our great county,” Mangano said. “We hope to collectively end this epidemic that is destroying the lives of many of our residents.”