Suffolk rolls out initiatives to curb heroin epidemic
Suffolk County authorities are hoping a new drug therapy could help fight the epidemic of heroin and opiate abuse.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone says the county is trying to raise awareness about the drug Vivatrol, or naltrexone. The drug is taken once a month and works by blocking a drug user's opioid receptors, preventing the person from getting high and lessening drug cravings.
Suffolk officials plan to include Vivatrol treatment in the sentences of some people convicted of drug crimes. County jail inmates will also get access to the drug, as officials say more than 60 percent of people in the county jail have substance abuse problems.
The county is also partnering with the Sachem School District on a new student awareness campaign. The initiative will seek to bring attention to drug abuse.
About one person dies per day on Long Island because of substance abuse, according to Suffolk Legislator William Spencer, who is also a medical doctor.