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Nassau Notebook: Prescription Drug Epidemic

A weekly look-in at the news of Nassau County.

New Prevention Efforts Launched in Wake of Prescription Drug Epidemic

In the wake of recent tragedies related to the prescription drug abuse throughout Long Island — including last week's fatal shooting in Seaford — Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and the Nassau County Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse Prevention Task Force announced Monday a prescription drug aversion campaign to assist pharmacists — often the last line of defense between the drug and the user and those often in the most danger from desperate drug seekers.

This week, Mangano will be sending letters to all licensed pharmacists in Nassau County, containing tips for pharmacists' safety and listing treatment resources for drug addicts seeking recovery. Among the red flags for pharmacists, Mangano noted, are prescription holders who offer to pay cash or who are strangers to the pharmacy, present an address from outside the area and only request Narcotics.

In the his letter, Mangano wrote:

While I fully understand that you have customers who have real pain and a legitimate need for prescription painkillers, others are simply suffering from prescription drug addiction and have become desperate to find ways to obtain drugs. Pharmacists can better protect themselves, prevent diversion and care for their patients through preventative measures that avert drug diversion.

The Nassau County Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse Prevention Task Force, created last year after the Medford Pharmacy tragedy, consists of officials from the areas of treatment, recovery, law enforcement, pharmaceutical, medical, mental health and social services. The group is charged with crafting recommendations for Mangano to execute on the county level, as well as legislative initiatives for the State Legislature’s consideration. Recommendations will be presented to Mangano by the end of February.

Mangano Meets With Schumer to Protect Local Drug Stores

Mangano joined U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer Wednesday as he called for a new, three-pronged approach to protecting local drug stores from the growing problem of pharmacy theft, due to the increased addiction of prescription pain killers like Oxycotin nationwide. Schumer’s plan requires the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to issue guidelines and best practices to help local pharmacies establish better security measures for the protection of prescription narcotics and to act as a deterrent to would-be robbers.

Additionally, the plan calls on the DEA to share information the agency collects on pharmaceutical theft and crime with local law enforcement, to allow the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Assistance (HIDTA) task force to create an accessible database to help identify trends and patterns related to prescription drug crime in the region. Schumer’s proposal also calls for increasing the maximum sentence for pharmacy robberies and their related crimes to 20 years, per offense.

NCPD Marine Bureau to Conduct NYS Boating Safety Course

Mangano and Police Commissioner Thomas V. Dale announced Tuesday that the NCPD's Marine Bureau will be conducting the New York State certified Boating Safety Course for residents of Nassau.

The eight-hour course will be scheduled on two consecutive four-hour sessions on the following dates:

  • Saturday and Sunday Jan. 28–29 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday Feb. 25–26 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday March 10–11 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday March 24–25 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Courses will be held at the Nassau County Police Academy located at 200 Second
Ave. in Massapequa Park. In order to obtain a safety certificate, registrants must
attend both four-hour sessions.

You must hold a safety certificate if:

  • You operate a personal watercraft and are at least 14 years of age. You wish to operate a motorboat (including personal watercraft) and you are at least 10 years old and less than 18 years old.
  • If you are at least 10 years old, you may operate a motorboat (non-personal watercraft) only if someone over 18 or someone between the ages of 10 and 18, who holds a safety certificate, is on board with you. Anyone may operate a personal watercraft if someone at least 18 years old is riding on the craft and they hold a safety certificate.

In addition to attending both four-hour sessions, registrants must pass a final exam to receive certification.

Registration is limited to 35 individuals each session. You can only register online.

County Launches Executive's Community Pass

The County Executive's wife, Linda Mangano, on Wednesday announced the new Nassau County Executive's Community Pass. 

The pass allows Nassau County residents to purchase discounted tickets to Disney On Ice presents Dare to Dream performances at the Nassau Coliseum on Jan. 6 for $10 a ticket on all originally priced $25-$35 seats.

Ben January 09, 2012 at 02:13 PM
My Mother is on a lot of medication, she's diabetic, she has high blood pressure, she gets the gout, and it doesn't seem decent that people are getting rich from her misery.
Jon L. January 09, 2012 at 02:33 PM
This is the inherent problem of a single payer system. There is no established right of healthcare. The Declaration of Independence does not say, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, Good medical coverage and the pursuit of Happiness." I understand that there is a human element to this but the government should have a lesser role in healthcare as they have only done things to stymie legitimate progress in the area of stem cell and other genetic research which opens the door for people like "Dr. Ecklund" as highlighted on 60 Minutes last night. Innovation has always been driven by profit in the semi-capitalist model here in the United States. I have seen the negative effects of single payer when I was working with CVPH in Plattsburgh, NY; seeing many people cross the border from Quebec each day just to seek medical care that they would otherwise have no or limited access to in Canada. What this has essentially done is made the divide between those who have and those who do not larger instead of it's original intent of providing care to all. Disclosure: I have worked in healthcare my entire working life.
Simba January 11, 2012 at 03:09 AM
http://www.newsday.com/long-island/report-oxycodone-prescriptions-skyrocket-1.3442993 I can only assume that Doctors are filling out these prescriptions right ? So would it follow that the increase of painkiller addictions has some relation to the increase in prescriptions written by doctors. So would you consider doctors to be the least liable.
Lloyd January 11, 2012 at 04:59 AM
It seems that mamy doctors prescribe painkillers even when not requested by the patient. Theyre too quick to keep their patients totally pain free. My doctors have done that for me and I never take painkillers. But I do go to the pharmacy to fill the prescrption for $5, just in case I ever need it. But Id rather deal with a little pain than lose control of my body. I must have thrown out a dozen containers of Oxycondone over the years. Its no woner my garbagemen are so friendly towatds me.
MAG1215LB January 11, 2012 at 08:55 PM
They have a safe way to dispose of unused drugs. By throwing them in the garbage they leach into the ground water. The police do a collection, no questions asked.

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