Most people are aware of the heroin epidemic that continues to worsen regardless of increased police efforts to reverse this horrific trend. Yet, many do not know that addiction to heroin often starts innocently through prescription pain medication. Like heroin, painkillers are also powerful, highly addictive opioids. Some people gravitate to heroin when their doctors will no longer prescribe painkillers or when they need stronger drugs to attain the same feeling.
In an effort to increase awareness about how easily addictive prescription painkillers are, Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton filed legislation on August 7 that, if passed into law, would require all pharmacies in Nassau County to post notices stating that opiates are addictive.
According to the Nassau and Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s offices, in 2016, there were 500 fatal opioid overdoses in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Narcan reverses an opiate overdose and is easily administered as a nasal mist. All Nassau County Police and EMS personnel and many citizens are trained on administering Narcan. “I’ve hosted many Narcan training sessions so more people can help save lives from opioid overdoses,” Legislator DeRiggi-Whitton said. “But awareness and education about how addictive prescription painkillers are and how their use can easily lead to heroin use is crucial. If this legislation only helps one family avoid a terrible loss, at least one less child will be lost to opioids.”
The notice in pharmacies, which would be prominently displayed for customers waiting to pick up prescriptions, will read:
Medications containing opiates are addictive
and subject to abuse.
Use opioids only as directed
by your physician.
If you or someone you know
has a problem with addiction,
you can call 1-877-8-HOPENY.