Legislation Would Require Pharmacies to Post Notice About Opioid Addiction

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.

“It is critical that we keep talking about this subject with our kids,” said Rosemarie Sherry, whose son became addicted to opioids after being prescribed painkillers for shoulder surgery due to a sports injury. “We need to keep the dialogue open about how addictive painkillers are and how they and heroin can change their lives forever, even if it doesn’t take their lives.” Sherry addressed the Legislature during public comment, asking that all of the legislators support this important piece of legislation.

“I am grateful to Minority Counsel Peter Clines and my intern Zachary Kriesberg for their extensive assistance in writing this important legislation,” DeRiggi-Whitton added.  “We are hopeful that this important bill passes unanimously at our next Legislative session in September. I am also grateful that former Glen Cove EMS Chief Jimenez attended the press conference to add his personal account of how so many families have been affected by this epidemic.” Delia urges Nassau County residents to contact their legislators, imploring them to make passing this bill a priority. Please feel free to contact Legislator DeRiggi-Whitton at 516-571-6211 or dderiggiwhitton@nassaucountyny.gov.

Photo captions


(0666) Legislator DeRiggi-Whitton (at podium) at an August 7, 2017 press conference where the pharmacy legislation was announced.  She is joined by (from left) advocate Rosemarie Sherry, Legislators Laura Curran and Siela Bynoe and Glen Cove EMS Ex Chief Tony Jimenez.







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