Brittany ComakSep 13, 2018, 12:56 pmSep 13, 2018, 1:12 pm

Nassau police: Heroin overdoses are on the downturn

Officials say program that targets drug hotspots is working, but there’s still more work to be done

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WANTAGH — Nassau County police, along with other county officials said Thursday they are seeing a decrease in heroin overdoses.

Wantagh is the eighth community that the Nassau County Police Dept. is targeting as part of “Operation Natalie,” which uses targeted enforcement and overdose mapping to better assess each community in Nassau.

"We are getting results,” said Nassau County Exec. Laura Curran. “The dealers are being held accountable, and the addicts are getting the help that they desperately need."

In just the last five days, the police department says they made 32 drug arrests in Wantagh. In addition, since starting the program overall, fatal heroin overdoses are down 11 percent, and non-fatal are down 27 percent.

"That's just heroin related. That's a difference. We're making a difference," said Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder.

In Wantagh specifically, a map shows that in the last year there were 41 non-fatal overdoses, and four fatal overdoses.

"Those families will never be the same again. Those are our residents. Those are people living behind these doors. And as a community we're doing everything we can to help people, to avoid a life of addiction. And if they're addicted, to get them the help that they need," said Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas.

Officials said that though things are overall decreasing, there is of course still more work to be done.

"When we think about those four families, it's really easy to say we're making progress, but we can't take our foot off the gas. The reality is as long as there are any overdose fatalities, we still have a lot of work to do,” said Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds of Family and Children's Association.

On Wednesday Sept. 19, the police department will be hosting a town hall at the Wantagh Fire Dept. to engage with the community and provide awareness, and also hear what they need.

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