WOODBURY - Officials have announced a new weapon in the war against the heroin epidemic on Long Island.
The state Senate announced the formation of the Task Force on Heroin And Opioid Addiction, to be headed by state Sen. Phil Boyle, of Bay Shore.
The task force will examine the problem and seek suggestions for experts on addiction prevention and treatment. In addition, it will address the rise in heroin use and how it leads to drug-related crimes.
"We're going to have hearings around the state and get input from law enforcement, district attorneys from Suffolk to Buffalo who will give us ideas on how to best prosecute crimes," Boyle says.
After reviewing its findings, the task force will draft legislation to help fix the problems caused by heroin.
Andrew Kolodny, with the drug treatment center Phoenix House, says the greatest priority should be funding for long-term care. "[Recovering addicts] need support, psych-social support, they need therapy, counseling," he says. "What I think the task force should be doing is sitting down with the insurance companies and coming up with treatment programs that the insurance companies are willing to pay for."