Krista McNallyJul 6, 2017, 4:53 pmJul 7, 2017, 9:32 am

Rocky Point residents impacted by heroin epidemic call for drug prevention programs

Families, friends of those who have died from overdose rally to highlight disease

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Lauren Nardone's daughter Michelle died from a heroin overdose nine years ago and she says every day is a battle to overcome the pain of her passing.

"Every holiday and birthday and anything you can think of, after the death of a child, is completely shattered," Nardone said.

She stood with her husband, son, and many others affected by the heroin epidemic to call for more to be done in Rocky Point.

They used their negative experience as a platform to raise awareness about addiction, which they say is a disease that can happen to anyone.

"If you try it one time you can die. My daughter was only on it six months and she died," Nardone said.

At the rally, North Shore Community President Gary Pollakusky announced he is hosting a community forum on July 13 at Rocky Point Middle School at 6 p.m. He believes there should be more programs like this for Long Islanders.

"The problem is consistency. There are pockets of great programs throughout our state," Pollakusky said.

The group is asking for assembly programs in the middle and high schools and for more drug prevention programs to be in the curriculum.

These types of community forums have been taking place across the state and many on Long Island for the last several years, prompting many prevention, treatment and law enforcement laws to be passed.

However, residents feel these programs are not enough for a problem that continues to grow with the cost of lives lost.

"28 days is all insurance covers and it is going to do nothing for heroin and that’s the sad part. We need to educate at the elementary level, we need to get insurance companies to pay for long-term treatment," said Elizabeth Burcoli, whose fiancee died from an overdose.

The Nardone's say they would be willing to speak with students about how their lives were forever changed by the drug and they think most parents who have lost a child would also do the same.

"When you lose your child and hurt this much, you don't want other people to feel the same thing," Nardone said.

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