Recent crackdowns on pharmacy access to pain killers, and “bad doctors” has led to an unexpected rise in the number of heroin-related deaths on Long Island, according to law enforcement sources.
“It’s almost like a graduation from prescription pills,” stated Suffolk Det. Lt. Bob Donahue, commanding officer of the community response bureau. “The cost of heroin is cheaper and it is easier for them to get their hands on.”
While Oxycontin can cost anywhere from $20-$80 per pill, depending on their strength, a 1-gram bag of Columbian heroin “typically costs around $10, and dealers across the region have begun to split their bags in half and sell them for $7 apiece to meet increased demand,” added DEA spokeswoman Erin Mulvey.
Records also show that while the number of heroin-related arrests rose in Nassau County jumped from 228 in 2011 to 427 last year, the number of fatal overdoses dropped from 32 to 27 during the same period as local police say they are placing their emphasis on making drug arrests and educating people about the dangers of heroin and pain pill abuse. In the meantime, the amount of heroin-related arrests in Suffolk County rose to 1,266 in 2012 from 1,051 the year before.
“Young people don’t have the fear of heroin now that they used to,” added Mulvey.
Note: One of the major reasons that there have not been more over-dose related deaths has been the use of a new nasal drug-overdose antidote now being used by police and paramedics throughout the Island. Commonly known as Narcan, the drug is administered through the nose and works by knocking opiate molecules from the brain stem’s nerve receptors. To date, Narcan has saved 51 lives in Suffolk County, and dozens more in Nassau. For more information see Diana’s article