Long Island is famous for its beautiful beach, local vineyard, championship golf course, incredible mansions, and lighthouses. The one thing this gem of New York doesn’t want to be famous for is heroin related deaths. But in less than a year, they’ve already experienced four deaths as a result of heroin overdose.
Just three years ago, New York legislators decided it was time to re-vamp what they considered to be “draconian” drug laws. The reformation of the law let drug dealers out of prison early because they were “non-violent” offenders. This freed up space in prisons but didn’t seem to have much forethought.
The sale and use of drugs most definitely has an element of violence that goes along with it. Gang wars over territories and burglaries/robberies associated with addicts who will do anything for their next dose certainly would not be considered “non-violent” crimes.
But aside from the violence aspect, there’s the loss of life from overdose that often occurs with heroin. Parents and family members parents who have suffered the loss of a child are standing up and making noise about it.
Heroin and prescription drug use are on the rise in Long Island and Susan Roethel of Huntington knows of it first hand. Her daughter Megan died of a heroin overdose on May 22nd. Megan was 22 years old.
Megan’s death brought about a strength and courage in her mother, who is on a mission to raise awareness about the danger of heroin and prescription drug use. She began a group called The Fallen on Long Island. Her goal is to bring drug addiction and overdoses to the forefront so that others don’t have to suffer the same pain of loss that she and her family have.
Rev. Stephen Donnelly, of St. Patrick’s Church in Huntington village, says he has presided over nine funerals of young people just this year. Each of them were under the age of 25. Each of them died of drug overdose.