(Police Chief Charles Gennario of the Rockville Centre Police Department, is a member of the Nassau County Heroin Prevention Task Force and submitted this letter on behalf of the Task Force.)
Prescription drug abuse in the nation is at an unparalleled height and it’s having a detrimental impact on our society. Nassau County is no different than the rest of the country and we are seeing ever-increasing abuse in our communities. It is affecting people of all ages, but is having the greatest impact on our youth.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, 2,500 people a day are becoming addicted to prescription drugs. Opiates, such as Oxycodone, are the most abused. They give the user a euphoric feeling and a sense of relaxation. They rapidly become addictive and over time have a detrimental effect. They are being abused by high school and even middle school students.
These drugs are difficult for law enforcement personnel to combat. They can be obtained illegally “on the street,” or easily, from medicine cabinets in the homes of relatives and friends.
Adults who obtain these narcotics legally either from a surgery or injury, must be responsible for safeguarding the drugs. It may be necessary to keep them under lock and key, especially if you have teenagers. Your children or their friends have easy access to your medicine cabinet if it’s in the bathroom. It’s the only room in the house where you’re expected to close and lock the door for at least several minutes. If some pills are taken from a bottle in the medicine cabinet, you might never know. Once these prescribed meds are in the hands of someone other than the person to whom they were prescribed, they become illegal.
Our youth today are holding what are called “pharm” parties, where each guest brings whatever kind of prescription medication they can find at home, dumps it in a bowl, “phishes” one out and ingests it. They do not know what they are taking, be it OxyContin, Xanax, Coumadin or anything else. These drugs, when not prescribed to you by a doctor or when mixed with alcohol, can have a devastating effect.
All of us need to go home and clean out our medicine cabinets of any unused or expired medication and dispose of it properly. All pills can be brought to drop boxes recently installed at all eight police precincts. Any remaining meds should be kept somewhere safe, and locked.
Don’t be your child’s first drug supplier.
Chief Rockville Centre PD
NC Heroin Prevention Task Force Member