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Opioid & Heroin Abuse Crisis On Long Island Has Reached Epidemic Levels & Locals Need Both Supply & Access To Naloxone As They Work To Turn The Tide Against Scourge  

Schumer Says Legislation Just Passed Out Of The Judiciary Committee & Will Now Go On To Full Senate; Schumer Will Make A Push To Get It Passed; Says Preventing Opioid Overdose Deaths Is Essential 

Schumer: Facing Down This Crisis Must Be National Priority  

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today pushed to pass legislation that will help combat the exploding heroin, opioid and‎ prescription drug epidemic on Long Island. According to Newsday, there were 50 fatal heroin overdoses in Nassau County last year and 103 fatal heroin overdoses in Suffolk County last year. According to a recent Newsday article, that number could have been even higher if not for the opiate antidote, Naloxone, which was administered 959 times last year. Schumer is calling on Congress to pass bipartisan legislation, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015, introduced by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Rob Portman (R-OH) that would expand the availability of naloxone and provide additional resources to help communities on Long Island reduce and prevent future drug overdoses and deaths.

“Heartbreaking stories of good, hardworking people who have slipped away because of a prescription drug, heroin or other opioid addiction, are painful to hear,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “But for some on Long Island, the drug Naloxone presented a second chance at life and treatment—an opportunity to unlock the deadly grip of addiction. The opioid and heroin abuse crisis on Long Island has now reached epidemic levels and that’s why I’m urging Congress to pass this bill and help turn the tide against this scourge. If we can expand the availability of the life-saving drug, Naloxone, we ought to do it and we ought to do it fast.”

“On Long Island, the rise in the use of Naloxone has been emblematic of an epidemic spread in heroin and opioid addiction,” said Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn, sponsor of a 2012 county law that expanded use of the overdose antidote.  “When there aren’t any more tomorrows the door to recovery permanently slams shut on an addict and for his or her loved ones.  Naloxone gives overdose victims one more tomorrow and one more chance at recovery.  I commend Senator Schumer for sponsoring this initiative and for his commitment to each and every Long Island family struggling from the consequences of addiction.”  

 “The Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (LICADD) commends Senator Schumer for his leadership during this devastating public health crisis. Increased availability and administration of naloxone will continue to translate into lives saved across Long Island, with the hopes that access to quality treatment and concrete aftercare will support individuals and families on the road to recovery. LICADD is proud to report that we have trained over 4,000 individual Long Islanders in the administration of this life saving serum and we have seen the positive impact second chances can offer individuals and families in their struggle with substance use disorders. Senator Schumer’s leadership surrounding the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) of 2015 is met with great hope and gratitude. Long Islanders are hopeful that the increased availability of naloxone, coupled effective community education and prevention programs and access to quality healthcare for treatment, will turn the tides on the tragic human toll of this epidemic. Thank you Senator Schumer,” said Steve Chassman, LCSW, CASAC, LICADD Executive Director.

“This much needed assistance will help us effectively prevent, treat and support recovery from substance use disorders, saving countless lives and helping us turn a corner in the midst of this historic heroin crisis. This kind of comprehensive approach recognizes that getting someone breathing again with naloxone should never be the best we can do, but instead the least we can do as we help them find a path to treatment and the start of a new life without drugs and alcohol. We thank Senator Schumer for his steadfast and relentless advocacy on this issue and look forward to celebrating passage of CARA,” said Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds, President/CEO of Family and Children's Association. 


In the United States, drug overdose deaths have exceeded car crashes as the number one cause of injury death. Two Americans die of drug overdoses every hour and 2,500 youths aged between 12 and 17 abuse prescription drugs for the first time every day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), opioids—a class of drugs that include prescription pain medications and heroin—were involved in 28,648 deaths nationwide in 2014.

As a result, Schumer said more must be done to combat this scourge of drug abuse and overdose-related deaths on Long Island. Schumer said the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015 (CARA),which recently passed the Senate Judiciary Committee, is a critical step in beating back the opioid addiction trend. Schumer explained that the bill currently seeks to:

  • Expand the availability of naloxone – which can counter the effects of a heroin or opioid overdose – to law enforcement agencies and other first responders;
  • Improve prescription drug monitoring programs to help states monitor and track prescription drug diversion “and to help at-risk individuals access services,” because inefficiencies and loopholes in the current programs allow many individuals to game the system and obtain more drugs than they should;
  • Shift resources towards identifying and treating incarcerated people who are suffering from addiction, rather than just punishment as is often the case currently;
  • Expand disposal sites for unwanted prescription medications to keep them out of the hands of our children and adolescents

Schumer today also said that he will support emergency supplement funding to put actual resources behind CARA. For instance, Schumer is a co-sponsor of a bill presented by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), which would provide additional resources for prevention, treatment and emergency first responders. Specifically, Senator Shaheen’s legislation, called the Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, would allocate an additional $600 million to specific programs at the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services for local governments to utilize in this fight, including $200 million to the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program, $10 million to the COPS Anti-Heroin Task Force Grant Program and $225 million to the Substance Abuse Preventing and Treatment Block Grant Program.

 Schumer has previously fought to provide additional funding to the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program, which helps specific counties – designated as HIDTAs – address upticks in heroin usage and drug-related crime by improving coordination among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. In support of these efforts, the HIDTA program funds intelligence-sharing initiatives, drug use prevention and drug treatment initiatives, and general support for programs that provide assistance to law enforcement beyond their normal scope of duty.