Senator Elaine Phillips, in partnership with Northwell Health, hosted an educational session on April 11 to update and inform community, religious and school leaders on the heroin and opioid crisis on Long Island.
“The heroin and opioid epidemic continues to ravage communities across Long Island, leaving in its wake heartbreak and devastation,” said Senator Elaine Phillips, a member of the Joint Senate Task Force of Heroin and Opioid Addiction. “Often, individuals suffering from drug dependency and their loved ones seek out a religious or community leader for help, and today our goal was to provide them with the resources and information they need to help. Thank you to Dr. Sandeep Kapoor and Northwell Health, as well as our panelists, and religious, community and school leaders for being part of this educational program and for your continued work against this tragic problem.”
The panel included Senator Elaine Phillips; Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder; Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas; Dr. Sandeep Kapoor, Director of Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment at Northwell Health; Dr. Jeff Reynolds, President and CEO of the Family and Children’s Association; Steven Chassman, Executive Director of LICADD; and Robert Evans, President and Founder of Beneath the Surface Life Coaching.
“This is a prevalent issue within our communities, homes and healthcare settings,” said Dr. Sandeep Kapoor. “It’s an issue the healthcare industry cannot handle on its own and it’s extremely important that we have these interdisciplinary roundtable discussions and that we start working in collaboration and in support of those dealing with substance misuse, abuse and addiction.”
The panel discussed overdose and treatment options, community outreach programs, new law enforcement initiatives, insurance, and new terminology, including the dangers of vaping.
Robert Evans shared how he channeled the energy of his personal story into becoming a nationally certified interventionist and the importance of supporting our friends and families struggling with drug dependency.
In 2017, there were an estimated 600 opioid deaths on Long Island, with many cases still awaiting toxicology reports.
“We must continue to ensure law enforcement officials, treatment providers and addiction specialists have the proper resources and tools to support prevention, treatment and recovery initiatives,” Senator Phillips said. “I am proud to have voted for a state budget that included a record $247 million investment to combat this epidemic and work collaboratively with all stakeholders in this fight.”