Substance Use on Long Island
Social Work Student Advocating for the Substance Use Population
By Rachel L. West
Advocacy & Community Outreach Consultant
Social Work Student and journalist Siobhán Cassidy was on PIX 11 news (NY) today advocating for the substance use population. She was joined by Legislator William Spencer and Tatiana Green, CASAC. You can watch the segment below.
Siobhan runs the website Suburban Heroin. The website focuses on heroin use on Long Island and barriers to treatment. According to the site:
Overdoses from opioids, which include heroin and some prescription painkillers, killed more than 2,000 New Yorkers in 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That’s double the number who died in 2004. Long Island hit record numbers with 242 reported heroin-related deaths in 2012 and 2013. And the Island has seen a steady increase in heroin-related arrests for last two years.
Siobhan is working on a Masters of Social Work Degree at SUNY Stony Brook University.
A report recently released by the New York State Department of Health found that Suffolk County (on Long Island) has the highest number of deaths related to opioid use in New York.
Suffolk County has taken steps to decrease the number of deaths resulting from an overdose such as training police officers to administer Narcan. Narcan has been proven effective in reversing an opioid overdose. You can learn more about it at StopOverdose.org.
County Legislator William Spencer (who also happens to be a medical doctor) told Riverhead LOCAL that more needs to be done to prevent opioid use:
I’m happy we’re saving lives with Narcan, but we’re treating the symptom and we’re not doing anything to address the problem that brought them to that place where they overdosed to begin with,” Spencer said. “We have to make the manufacturers come to the table and also accept responsibility,”‘ (Source)
Photo Credit: By eric molina from New York City, United States [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons