Nassau police ramp up Operation Natalie to fight drug overdose problem

Operation Natalie was inspired by Victor Ciappa's 18-year-old daughter who died of a heroin overdose in 2008.

News 12 Staff

Jun 22, 2021, 9:50 PM

Updated 1,035 days ago

Share:

Nassau police are ramping up a program that's aimed at fighting drug overdoses and providing a path to mental health services.
Operation Natalie was inspired by Victor Ciappa's 18-year-old daughter who died of a heroin overdose in 2008. She became the poster child for the beginning of the Long Island heroin epidemic.
Ciappa has been working with Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder on Operation Natalie.
The program is designed to educate and inform parents and users about available mental health services and counseling with the goal of providing a path to recovery.
"It could have been prevented if we knew the signs," says Ciappa. "We didn't have this weapon then and that's why we lost her."
Ryder says during the pandemic Operation Natalie became less of a priority due to other pressing issues.
"We lost our way when it came to COVID. We're bringing that fight back," says Ryder. "Our education, awareness, enforcement, diversion, treatment, and again the aftercare."
Curran announced Tuesday the importance of the program in helping to fight the mounting stress of the pandemic on residents.
"People were isolated. There was a lot of disbar, economic insecurity and isolation," says Curran.
Ciappa says parents need to stay involved in their child's life. "You are parents, not friends of your children."
Police say if a parent finds drugs, they can bring them to any precinct to be tested.


More from News 12
0:51
State police: Trooper struck in the face by combative driver during Southern State Parkway traffic stop

State police: Trooper struck in the face by combative driver during Southern State Parkway traffic stop

2:11
Sunny and mild Tuesday before rain returns Wednesday

Sunny and mild Tuesday before rain returns Wednesday

1:54
Ronkonkoma woman pleads not guilty to 49 counts of animal cruelty

Ronkonkoma woman pleads not guilty to 49 counts of animal cruelty

0:16
Police: Long Beach man punched nurse in abdomen at Mount Sinai South Nassau Hospital

Police: Long Beach man punched nurse in abdomen at Mount Sinai South Nassau Hospital

1:59
Long Island gets introduced to matzah pizza; proceeds will go toward charities

Long Island gets introduced to matzah pizza; proceeds will go toward charities

0:32
Spartans chosen as new mascot for Brentwood school district

Spartans chosen as new mascot for Brentwood school district

2:03
Food fight: Nassau Community College students, faculty rally against college, food vendor impasse

Food fight: Nassau Community College students, faculty rally against college, food vendor impasse

2:12
Amityville schools to receive $2 million from new state budget to help reduce budget deficit, save jobs

Amityville schools to receive $2 million from new state budget to help reduce budget deficit, save jobs

0:17
Man wanted for stealing $1,000 in merchandise from Centereach store

Man wanted for stealing $1,000 in merchandise from Centereach store

2:16
It’s Earth Day! Find out how United Way is celebrating.

It’s Earth Day! Find out how United Way is celebrating.

0:27
Drivers beware: Closures on the LIE this week due to bridge cleaning

Drivers beware: Closures on the LIE this week due to bridge cleaning

1:30
Paws & Pals: Dogs up for adoption at Brookhaven Animal Shelter on April 22

Paws & Pals: Dogs up for adoption at Brookhaven Animal Shelter on April 22

Is your mom awesome? Long Island tell us why your Mom Rocks!

Is your mom awesome? Long Island tell us why your Mom Rocks!

0:43
Police: Illegal guns found inside Old Bethpage home; couple charged with criminal weapons possession

Police: Illegal guns found inside Old Bethpage home; couple charged with criminal weapons possession

0:21
Fire razes Mount Sinai home

Fire razes Mount Sinai home

0:48
Nonprofit environmental group hosts discussion on climate change at Jones Beach event

Nonprofit environmental group hosts discussion on climate change at Jones Beach event

1:10
Lawmakers in Albany pass $237 billion state budget, restore school funding

Lawmakers in Albany pass $237 billion state budget, restore school funding

0:28
Man who set himself on fire outside Trump trial dies of injuries, police say

Man who set himself on fire outside Trump trial dies of injuries, police say

Knicks beat 76ers 111-104 in Game 1 of playoffs. Brunson and Hart score 22 points and backups star

Knicks beat 76ers 111-104 in Game 1 of playoffs. Brunson and Hart score 22 points and backups star

Andersen, Noesen help Hurricanes push past Islanders 3-1 to open 1st-round NHL playoff series

Andersen, Noesen help Hurricanes push past Islanders 3-1 to open 1st-round NHL playoff series