Police on Long Island on the front line of the heroin epidemic
Heroin has developed a frightening grip on Long Island's youth in a way not seen for decades. In part three of News 12 Long Island's Heroin: Addicted on Long Island series, News 12's Eileen Lehpamer rides along with a Suffolk police officer to find out what's being done to combat the heroin epidemic.
Officer Matthew Siesto from Suffolk's 6th Precinct brought Lehpamer to some areas with the largest presence of heroin. One of their stops was at the Centereach Mall on Middle Country Road. Siesto says he recently saved the same woman twice from a heroin overdose in that parking lot.
"It's very scary when you see someone, not breathing," says Siesto. "They are dying inside."
During the ride, Siesto was called to a foreclosed home in Farmingville for a trespasser. The home, neighbors say, is sometimes used by drug addicts.
In Nassau County, the commanding officer of the narcotics department says tips from the community are the key in the battle against heroin. Detective Lt. Robert Galgano adds that in addition to street patrols and tips, K-9 unit dogs also help officers hone in on heroin. So far this year, there have been 368 heroin arrests in the county.
In Suffolk County, there have been 1,143 heroin-related arrests.