Five Towns Drug and Alcohol Coalition Works to Save Lives | Herald Community Newspapers


Two years after its founding, the Saving Lives Five Towns Drug and Alcohol coalition is launching a new campaign to “Lock, Inventory, Eliminate” prescription drugs with the goal of reducing access to drugs.

“Prescription data shows that if drug addicts are able to get used to or stay with substances like Vicodin or Valium, they either sell or use it,” said Susan Blauner, addiction treatment expert. and director of the coalition. “Because we’ve learned that if someone has an addiction problem, they won’t stop. “

To prevent people from having easier access to even legal drugs, the coalition has launched a major direct mail that will be sent next week to public and private organizations and religious institutions to raise awareness of the LID campaign, which encourages people to lock in the drugs they need, take inventory of what they have, and get rid of those they don’t need or have expired.

Blauner noted that people have been known to attend open houses – when homes are for sale – to steal prescription drugs, with one person speaking to the realtor while another searches the pharmacy.
Seniors could also use the inventory sheet to track their prescription drugs, coalition supervisor Cathy Bryne said given the increase in drug abuse among seniors.

Founded in 2019, the coalition operates under the auspices of the Marion & Aaron Gural JCC, the UJA Federation and the Mazer Family Fund. It was a five-year grant of $ 125,000 from the federal Department of Health and Human Services last year. It is made up of community leaders from business, education, government, health care and law enforcement, as well as parents and youth with experience of substance abuse.

Byrne, a gerontologist and registered nurse, said she modeled the group on the coalition in her home community, Rockville Center.

“In all five cities, I went to different rabbis and congregations and saw the need for it, because of drug addiction and teens in crisis,” Byrne explained. “I meet individually with a dozen rabbis and explain to them what we are doing. We have developed, recruited and contacted to build important relationships.

To accomplish the coalition’s mission to “raise community awareness of youth mental health and addiction issues and reduce youth drug and alcohol abuse through education, media advocacy, app increased and changes in policies, ”relationships were forged with the premier nursing minister of Five Towns. Home and Rehabilitation, Hewlett-Woodmere Business Association, Hewlett-Lawrence Soccer Club, Lawrence School District, Village of Lawrence, Mount Sinai South Nassau Hospital, Nassau County Police Department and Tempo Group. The coalition is also working with the Hatzalah Volunteer Ambulance Corps, the National Guard and Northwell Health.

David Friedman, president of the HWBA, said that bringing all the different community institutions, organizations and addiction experts together in the coalition is great in helping to “alleviate the damage caused by alcohol and drugs” as well as the other “negative effects” of abuse. The LID program, Friedman said, is essential because people need to know that they can’t just throw drugs in the trash or leave them where there is a risk that children can find them.

“The last thing you want is for a child to find a bottle [of medication] and thinking it’s candy, ”Friedman said, adding that the coalition also aims to alert law enforcement to places where vaping products and tobacco are sold to minors. “We want to strengthen the whole program and be able to move forward.”

Medical deposit boxes have been placed at the CVS at 128 Washington Ave. in Cedarhurst, CVS at 44 North Central Ave. at Valley Stream, NCPD 4th Precinct, 1699 Broadway at Hewlett and Long Island Jewish Valley Stream / Northwell Health, 900 Franklin Ave. at Valley Stream.

On October 24, from 11 am to 2 pm, the Coalition will host a Take Back Drugs Day at Hatzalah Station at 724 W. Broadway in Woodmere, with balloons for the kids and raffles.


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