• In 2018, drug addiction took the lives of 67,300 in the United States, 20% of which are in Nassau and Suffolk Counties.
• Alcohol and drug abuse are treatable chronic diseases, and there is more that we can do as a society to help those who are suffering.
• The cost of this tragedy will cost taxpayers $32.6 Billion in 2020 alone.
• Addictions effect young and old alike, including the elderly and causes pain and distress to entire families.
If elected to the 9th Assembly District, Ann will:
1. Develop plans to ensure universal health coverage to provide affordable health care to all affected by addiction.
2. Prepare legislation to limit advertising of pharmaceuticals which fuel the drug crisis.
3. Proposals that encourage Continuing Medical Education for healthcare professionals, especially for primary care physicians, to include education to identify signs of addiction, especially in the elderly.
4. Ensure medicated assisted treatment be available to all who need it, including Naloxone (also known as Narcan).
5. Develop a New York State Assembly Task Force made up of leaders in the field to commence evidence-based research projects to evaluate treatment modalities and their effect on various populations.
6. Encourage non-pharmaceutical pain interventions and encourage insurance companies to include them as a reimbursable item.
7. Promote community-based prevention and public education programs.
We all know that drug addiction and alcoholism is a problem our country has been struggling with for years, but nowhere has been devastated by this problem as much as Long Island. Tragically, 20% of fatal overdoses nationally are attributed to Long Island residents, making this area what has been described as “Ground Zero” for the heroin and opiate epidemic.
Suffolk County has ranked drug and alcohol abuse as its number one ongoing healthcare concern and Nassau County ranked this abuse number two. So far in 2020, Suffolk experienced a 40% increase in fatal overdoses and Nassau County has experienced a 50% increase, with one third of all deaths in Nassau being caused by drug overdoses. The majority of victims were between the ages of 15 and 44.
Almost 66% of American families have been impacted by drug addiction and almost everyone knows someone personally who has a drinking or substance abuse problem. At the national level, alcohol is the third leading cause of mortality and morbidity after smoking and obesity. In addition to the effect on human life and health, addiction issues cause tremendous financial strain on our community and country. The federal budget for drug control and resource allocation in 2020 was $34.6 Billion and has cost the United States billions more since 2010.
Addiction is no longer an issue that we can brush aside and mindlessly throw solutions at. We must envision and create plans that will end the suffering that addiction causes to both human life and our economy.
Potential New Solutions:
1. Supervised Injection Sites - these facilities provide people who inject themselves in safe and medically supervised locations to use drugs in an effort to wean them off the substance. Some of the services include:
a. Provision of sterile supplies.
b. Secure environment.
c. Lifesaving support and clinical oversight.
a. Core management and social work counseling mental health services
d. Primary care – clinical testing, AIDS, pregnancy, etc.
2. Strengthen the Controlled Substance Act, which prohibits the possession of illicit substances and oversees the management of locations utilized for the purpose of using controlled substances - clarifying this legislation would allow for the development of safe injection sites. Due to controversy in the courts over the applicability of the Controlled Substance Act, the federal government has made it difficult to establish injection sites despite numerous city and state leaders sponsoring proposals for dozens of locations.
Existing Solutions & Treatments:
1. The 12 Steps Program – this model of addiction treatment contends that addicted individuals suffer as the result of a lifelong disease that is biological in origin and exacerbated by the environment.
2. Smart Recovery – founded in 1994, this model focuses on self-empowerment and self-reliance. The objectives of Smart Recovery are: a) building motivation, b) coping with urges, c) managing behaviors and d) living a balanced life.
3. Psychoanalysis – a psychotherapeutic approach to treating addiction.
4. Cognitive therapy – rests on the assumption that addicted individuals possess core beliefs often not accessible to immediate consciousness.
5. Al-Anon – a mutual support program for people whose lives have been affected by someone else’s drinking. By sharing common experiences and applying the Al-Anon principles, families and friends of alcoholics can bring positive changes to their individual situations, whether or not the alcoholic admits the existence of a drinking problem or seeks help.
6. Diversion Opening Opportunities for Recovery Services Program (DOORS), in partnership with the Long Island Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependency, provides residents of Nassau and Suffolk Counties who are experiencing substance abuse problems with an opportunity to access treatment and mental health support services. This program allows the District Attorney to refer individuals who may be addicted to go into treatment and helps prevent these low level offenders from entering the criminal justice system.
7. Certain opioid medications, such as methadone and buprenorphine, are used to treat opioid addictions to heroin, morphine or oxycodone. These drugs are considered as maintenance during recovery.
8. Naloxone (also known as Narcan) is used to reduce overdose deaths.
a. What does it do?
i. Targets the effect of opioid overdose.
ii. Used to counteract life threatening depression of the central nervous system and respiratory system permitting victims to breath normally.
iii. No potential for abuse.
iv. Naltrexone – it blocks the euphoric effects of alcohol and opiates. Studies indicate it is especially beneficial in helping relapse risk during the first few months of recovery.
v. May be injected into the muscle, vein, under the skin or sprayed up the nose.
b. Cost of Naloxone without a prescription:
i. Coverage is about $45 for single intramuscular injections.
ii. $85 for multistep intramuscular injections.
iii. $150 for single step nasal spray.
iv. $4,000 for the auto injector.
9. Increasingly, doctors are referring patients to utilize alternative pain management practices, which include modalities other than narcotics to relieve pain.
10. Encouraging primary care doctors to identify and refer patients early in the onset of their addiction before it sets in and overtakes the individual.
11. Promote comprehensive treatment centers which include supportive and emotional treatments, cognitive treatments, relapse prevention, family education and support, nutritional guidance, exercise and general wellness.
12. Detoxification followed by medication and behavior therapy, and then finally relapse prevention.
13. Since addiction is an oftentimes a generational family disorder, treatment should include family members so that emotional and environmental triggers are removed.
All of the agencies listed below provide chemical dependency treatment services funded through the Nassau County Department of Mental Health, Chemical Dependency, and Developmental Disabilities Services. Contact phone numbers and links to their websites are provided. Some agencies also provide chemical dependency prevention services. Other agencies provide services specific to problem gambling. These are noted in parentheses. Additional information about many of the treatment agencies and their programs can be found on the websites of the Nassau Alliance For Addiction Services (NAFAS) and the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS).
• Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.
Phone: (516) 747-2606
• Baldwin Council Against Drug Abuse (BCADA) Phone: 516-546-1771
• Bethpage Adolescent Development Association Phone: 516-433-5344
• Center for Rapid Recovery Phone: 516-292-6449
• Central Nassau Guidance & Counseling Services Phone: 516-822-4060
• Community Counseling Services of West Nassau (Gambling Treatment) Phone: 516-328-1717
• Confide Counseling Center Phone: 516-764-5522
• COPAY (Community Organization for Parents and Youth, Inc.) (Treatment, Prevention and Gambling Prevention) Phone: 516-466-2509
• Counseling Services of E.D.N.Y. Phone: 516-481-0052
• Education & Assistance Corp. Phone: 516-539-0150
• Family & Children's Association (Hempstead) Phone: 516-486-7200
• Family & Children's Association (Hicksville) Phone: 516-935-6858
• Five Towns Community Center (CODA) Phone: 516-239-6244
• Freeport Pride, Inc. Phone: 516-546-2822
• Friends of Bridge Phone: 516-825-4242
• Hispanic Counseling Center (Hempstead) Phone: 516-538-2613
• LIJ Elmont Treatment Center Phone: 516-326-0440
• LIJ Medical Center – Methadone Maintenance Treatment Program
• LIJ Mineola Community Treatment Center Phone: 516-742-4015
• LIJ Project Outreach Phone: 516-481-2890
• Long Beach Medical Center – FACTS Phone: 516-897-1250
• Long Beach Medical Center – Methadone Maintenance Treatment Program Phone 516-897-1330
• Long Beach Reach Phone: 516-889-2332
• Melillo Center Phone: 516-676-2388
• Mercy Medical Center – Family Counseling Phone: 516-705-3407
• Mercy Medical Center – Mercy Hall Community Residence Phone: 516-868-2244
• Mercy Medical Center – New Hope Crisis Center Phone: 516-546-7070
• Mercy Medical Center – Recovery House Phone: 516-572-8462
• Nassau County MHCDDDS – SAC - Methadone Maintenance Treatment Program Phone : 516-572-5906
• North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center Phone: 516-626-1971
• North Shore University Hospital – Drug Treatment & Education Center
• North Shore University Hospital @ Glen Cove (Adolescents)
• North Shore University Hospital @ Glen Cove (Outpatient Treatment)
• North Shore University Hospital @ Glen Cove (Women) Phone: 516-674-7852
• Oceanside Counseling Center Phone: 516-766-6283
• Peninsula Counseling Center Phone: 516-569-6600
• Port Counseling Center Phone: 516-767-1133
• REACT Phone: 516-623-7741
• Reflections Counseling Center Phone: 516-576-3120
• South Shore Child Guidance Center Phone: 516-868-3030
• Southeast Nassau Guidance Center (Seaford) Phone: 516-679-9800
• Southeast Nassau Guidance Center (Wantagh) Phone: 516-781-1911
• Tempo Group (Bellmore) Phone: 516-546-9008
• Tempo Group (Syosset) Phone: 516-921-3740
• Tempo Group (Woodmere) Phone: 516-374-3671
• YES Community Counseling Center Phone: 516-799-3203
• Yours, Ours, Mine Community Center, Inc. Phone: 516-796-6633
• Youth & Family Counseling Agency of Oyster Bay Phone: 516-922-6867
• Center For Discovery Phone: (631) 239-7024
• Long Island Addiction Treatment Phone: (631) 449-7340
• South Bay Counseling, LCSW PC Phone: (631) 699-2754
• Mountainside Addiction Treatment Center Phone: (516) 217-2181
• Long Island Center For Recovery Phone: (631) 685-2023
• Wellbridge Addiction Treatment and Research Phone: (631) 315-6181
• Phoenix House New York Phone: (844) 204-7157
• New York Cognitive Therapy and Wellness Center Phone: (631) 321-7107
• The Center for Motivation and Change - LI Phone: (646) 849-7208
• Teen Anxiety Treatment at Evolve Phone: (844) 334-2991
• Comprehensive Counseling LCSWs, Woodbury Phone: (516) 830-3866
• Mindworx Phone: (646) 736-4568
• Sober Companions Phone: (866) 676-5698
• CASPIR Phone: (516) 234-7843
• New England RAW Phone: (856) 316-4042
• Seabrook, Inc. Phone: (866) 384-8293
• Silver Hill Hospital Phone: (475) 283-9563
• Woodstock Manor Phone: (845) 251-3419
• Transcend Recovery Community NYC Phone: (818) 446-2102
• Addiction Treatment Services International Phone: (609) 451-2070
Rehabilitation Centers in Suffolk County:
Clients who are looking for Drug Rehab in Suffolk County or Alcohol Rehab in Suffolk County can find help at a treatment center. The first step towards recovery usually requires clients to detox in Suffolk County under medical supervision, and follow-up with a period of intensive therapy at the center.
Residential inpatient treatment in Suffolk County consists of 24-hour care at a live-in facility. Full treatment services, including medical and behavioral therapy, are provided all at one location. Outpatient treatment programs in Suffolk County provide flexibility to those who are unable to take time away from their regular lives, work or school. Programs typically meet at the clinic a couple of times every week for a few hours at a time. Certain programs provide a combination of the in/out approach: Inpatient for medical stabilization, partial hospitalization for moderate cases, intensive outpatient programs, and outpatient clinics for follow-up. For instance, opiate abusers may find it helpful to begin their abstinence with a brief but intensive outpatient opiate drug detox in Suffolk County.
How Treatment Centers Can Help:
Treatment centers in Suffolk County help clients with substance abuse issues, drug abuse, and pain treatment, as well as eating disorders. Treatment centers generally offer 30-day recovery programs, or longer term 60 and 90-day programs. The first step when you arrive in treatment is to begin a drug detox or alcohol detox. Medical professionals monitor your detox program to make sure that your detox is safe and appropriate. The second step at most treatment centers is to begin therapy, either in groups or individually. Most Suffolk County treatment centers for alcohol or drug abuse emphasize this step as the beginning of the road to recovery. Successful treatment also includes a plan for when you leave your treatment center. Whether it is alcoholics anonymous, or engaging with family and friends, the best treatment centers in Suffolk County provide counselors who guide you in preparing a plan to stay substance free.
Reasons for Using/Abusing Drugs and Alcohol:
1. A high median income and a large young population, with the majority of victims aged 15 to 44 years old, contribute to the problem.
2. Unemployment - 30 to 40 million jobs have been lost due to the current economic shutdown as compared with the 2.6 million jobs lost as a result of the 2008 economic crisis.
4. Loneliness due to quarantine and a need for social distancing
7. Peer pressure
8. Individuals abusing drugs and/or alcohol hope to:
a. Relax/relieve tension
b. Experience pain relief
c. Feel good/get high
d. Help cope with feelings and emotions
e. Decrease the effects of other drugs
f. Help with sleeping
9. Underlying societal pressures that increases unhealthy competitiveness and a need to excel fuel addiction issues. This pressure is experienced in the home, at work, and in school.
10. Pressure to work more and amass material items such as expensive cars, jewelry, lavish homes, etc., cause many people to feel anxious and that they in some way are failing themselves and their families.
Facts About Addiction
Some pertinent facts accepted by the field concerning addiction:
1. Addiction is a disease, not a personal weakness or moral failing. A suffering addict has no control over their actions related to their substance abuse.
2. Addicts find themselves emotionally isolated from those around them. However, there IS help available everywhere. What stops many addicts from seeking this help is a feeling of unworthiness to lead a normal life and a lack of positive self-image.
3. Addiction is not a curable disease. It is chronic and, if not treated, progressive. However, it can be managed through treatment.
4. Addiction is a physical, psychological and cognitive disease. The brain of an active addict is chemically and physically changed by the alcohol or drugs they are ingesting.
a. Many people who experience addiction likely also have something else going wrong in their life – depression, anxiety, a spiritual problem crisis, etc.
5. Drug/alcohol withdrawal is a physically and mentally challenging experience. The body no longer knows what to do without the drug/alcohol, and it takes several months for the brains of recovering addicts to come back into chemical balance.
6. Not all addicts demonstrate similar or identifiable behaviors – demographic and cultural influences such as race, age, gender, socioeconomic class, etc. all impact how one lives with their addiction. Some suffering addicts can even present as highly functional at home or work.
7. Addiction can be more than just illegal drugs, prescriptions and alcohol. This disease can include binge shopping, hoarding, gambling, cigarettes, video gaming and much more. Many people also experience cross addiction to multiple things.
8. Alcohol abuse is seen as more “acceptable” and less stigmatized due to alcohol’s status as a legal substance. This can have tremendous adverse effects on the abuse of alcohol as it is easily accessible, oftentimes associated with social settings, and is the most widely used drug in the world.
9. Dual diagnosis – it is not unusual for someone with mental health disorders to also suffer from addiction. According to a national survey of drug and heroin use, 45% of people with addiction have co-occurring mental/emotional health disorders. Two treatment plans are needed for those with dual diagnoses.
10. Recovery IS possible for an addict. Addiction is a highly personalized disease and will manifest itself differently in every person, so recovery will involve unique lifestyle changes for every survivor. Individuals should know that everyone with substance abuse problems has the capacity to recover if they seek out help and believe in themselves.
Use of Addictive Substances:
The most commonly abused drugs are Methadone, Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, and more recently, Fentanyl. The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly altered the supply of traditionally available illegal drugs such as heroin and cocaine, so Long Island dealers have begun adding Fentanyl to the market as a less expensive synthetic opioid.
The misuse and abuse of prescription drugs is a rampant issue facing this nation. In 2015, 11.5 million adults in America misused prescription drugs, with current estimates that anywhere between 21% to 29% of all patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them. Within this group, up to 12% are estimated to develop an opioid addiction. Of all heroin users, it has been found that 80% had in the past misused prescription opioids.
As for alcohol abuse, a 2019 brief in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society found that 10.6% of all adults aged 65 and older in the United States are suffering from a binge drinking disorder. Due to the growing population of older Americans, the number of alcohol abusers within this demographic is estimated to increase from one million to two million by 2060. According to the National Association for the Dually Diagnosed, of all residents in nursing and assisted living homes, nearly 50% have alcohol-related problems. The highest rates of alcoholism are seen among are widowers over the age of 75.
Older adults are the most susceptible population to the negative bodily effects that alcohol has, given the inability of aging kidneys to properly process this substance. Heavy alcohol consumption can also contribute to osteoporosis and memory problems, as well as to the proliferation of Type 2 diabetes. Additionally, many prescriptions and over-the-counter medications can be incredibly dangerous or even deadly when mixed with alcohol.
1. Hereditary – about one half of a person’s risk factor to substance abuse is their own genetic predisposition if it occurs in a family. If so, the individuals should exercise extreme precaution to prevent addiction.
2. Trauma or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – emotional trauma which has been left untreated will sometimes result in attempts to self-medicate, which can result in addiction.
3. Regular exposure – growing up or living with someone that abuses drugs and alcohol can lead to children, family members and significant others also becoming addicts.
Points to Consider:
Private facilities frequently refer people to AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) services or have the 12 Steps Model as part of their treatment plan, but since there is no set standard for recovery, methods for rehabilitation are extremely subjective.
For example, there are opponents of the 12 Step Model who contend that it lacks valid scientific evidence for its claims of efficacy and the program has an approximate 10% success rate. However, there is survey-based research that suggests there is a correlation between participation in the 12 Steps Model and alcohol sobriety.
Another factor about rehabilitation that we must consider is that scientific research shows that effective substance abuse treatment addresses multiple needs of the patient, rather than just the addiction. Medically assisted drug and alcohol detoxification alone is not sufficient as a treatment for addiction. Holistic programs that include residential services, outpatient, local support groups and sobriety homes that utilize numerous modalities of treatment are seen to be the most effective.
Addiction Policies and Treatments in Other Countries:
Portugal: By the 1990’s, 1% of Portuguese people were addicted to heroin. The government then decriminalized all drugs and provided mandatory drug treatment service for users. Since this development, Portugal’s drug-related death rate has been reduced to 5 times lower than the average within the European Union.
The Netherlands: The recreational use of marijuana is legal, as the goal of the government was to stop users from being in contact with illegal drug dealers who would push stronger and dangerous substances. The abuse of IV drugs such as heroin, although still a problem, has also diminished as a result of a 1998 government created assisted heroin drug treatment program.
The Dutch Drug Policy is an approach that focuses on easily accessible healthcare harm reduction and prevention resulting in less severe medical conditions found in these users.
Switzerland: In 1994, the government passed the Four Pillars Law:
1. Harm Reduction
4. Repression in law enforcement
This law included a safe haven for injecting methadone treatment and slow release morphine. With addicts being properly cared for, law enforcement is able to concentrate efforts of combating predatory dealers and the drug black market.
Croatia: Marijuana was decriminalized in 2012 and the government liberalized their policies on harder drugs such as heroin and other opioids. The government is focused on reducing the supply and demand of drugs, while maintaining the overall health of its citizens.
Czech Republic: In 1997, the government instituted Methadone Maintenance Treatment Centers to combat opioid use. Expenditures in this country have also been used to keep young children away from drugs, alcohol and tobacco.
Uruguay: In 2013, Uruguay legalized marijuana and started selling it to undercut predatory drug dealers. The government freed up resources to focus on drug traffickers and black market dealers, and used money to develop short- and long-term treatment centers.
Ecuador: Ecuadorian Drug Law Reform – due to its proximity to other cocaine producing countries, Ecuador has cracked down on the use and possession of any hard drugs. However, in 2008 the government gave amnesty to people who were convicted of transporting drugs and legalized marijuana in 2013. Ecuador mirrored many of Portugal’s drug laws and have too seen drug-related deaths decrease. Still, Ecuador still has major drug trafficking through its borders.