LINDENHURST - Health care professionals, elected officials, community leaders and families affected by substance abuse gathered in Lindenhurst Wednesday evening to discuss what is being called a drug epidemic on Long Island.
Over the last 10 years, heroin use in particular has become a growing problem. Officials say there are up to 300 fatal overdoses a year. Over the last three months in Lindenhurst alone, a 20-year-old man and 15-year-old girl died due to overdoses.
Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds, of the Long Island Council on Alcohol and Dependence, says there was a misperception that heroin was not a suburban problem.
"One of the things we're doing is taking a look at underage drinking, marijuana use, the misuse and diversion of prescription pills that usually lands people in a hotbed of heroin," said Reynolds.
The public hearing allowed families to share their stories and discuss ways to raise awareness about the ongoing issue.
The hearing was held by the Suffolk County Republican Caucus Task Force on Mental Health and Substance Abuse. It is one of a series of hearings that will be held over the coming months.