LI heroin deaths rise as war on prescription pills rages on

The Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence says heroin deaths for 2012 are expected to rise. (2/14/13)

MINEOLA - Experts say there has been a dramatic increase in heroin overdose deaths amid the war on prescription drugs.

The Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (LICADD) held a news conference today to talk about the rising number of overdose deaths.

According to LICADD, 242 people died of opiate deaths on Long Island in 2010. That number jumped to 347 in 2011, and the number of 2012 opiate deaths is expected to be even higher.

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Experts say one of the unintended consequences of the war against pharmaceutical drugs is that more drug addicts are instead turning to heroin.

Police officers and ambulance crews are now equipped with Narcan, a life-saving opiate reversal drug. But LICADD Executive Director Jeff Reynolds says an immediate call to 911 is also critical in preventing deaths.

Reynolds says most of the people that died of overdoses did not die alone, but the people with them were afraid of being arrested if they called the police.

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