Officials release new stats on drug overdoses in Nassau

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MINEOLA -

Officials have released sobering new statistics on how many people are dying as a result of opioid overdoses.

The pain is still raw for Plainview resident Lisa Kassler and her husband Lee, who held back tears as they talked about their son Garrett. The 26-year-old died in February after overdosing on heroin that was laced with the powerful painkiller fentanyl.

"He had all the love, he had every resource," Kassler says. "We spent everything we had to help him. And if it could happen to him, it could happen to anybody."

On Friday, Nassau County officials announced alarming new statistics on drug overdose deaths. Since 2010, the county has seen a steady increase in the number of people who have died from cocaine.

Officials tell News 12 that dealers are now cutting cocaine with cheap and potent opioids such as heroin, and increasingly with fentanyl. From 2015 to 2016, the number of fentanyl-related deaths in Nassau has nearly tripled -- from 31 to 81. Thirty-two people have already died so far this year.

"For the person who's using cocaine expecting to experience what they've experienced in the past, that's not reality anymore," says Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds, president and CEO of the Family and Children's Association. "Fentanyl has dramatically changed the game when it comes to substance use."

To help individuals and families struggling with addiction, the county will hold a recovery fair Saturday at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow. It will be held from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Field 8.

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