Newsday reports a surge of heroin use on Long Island. Last year, Nassau County set a record with 46 fatal heroin overdoses. In Suffolk County, the number of heroin-related deaths has hovered around 46 for the past four years. Suffolk’s Emergency Medical Services reported a 60 percent jump in the emergency use of an opiate antidote to counteract an overdose.
Between 2004 and 2008, at least 1,068 people in Long Island lost their lives in overdoses of either heroin or prescription opiates. In 2007 alone, a staggering 10,418 people were admitted to rehab facilities in both counties for opiate addiction. Authorities say aggressive promotion by dealers, increased purity that allows users to snort or smoke the drug, rather than inject it with a needle, prices as low as $5 for a one-time high, and similarity to popular but costly opiate painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin are behind heroin’s growth in popularity.