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Prescription Painkillers and Heroin Plaguing Staten Island

happy drug-free familyStaten Island has a serious drug problem. Look at these numbers:

  • In the past five years, the number of arrests involving prescription painkillers or heroin has gone from 100 to 1000 per year.
  • In 2010, there were 40 arrests on Staten Island for abuse of prescription painkillers. In 2011, the number of prescription drug-related arrests jumped to 300.
  • In 2013 laws were passed that helped doctors and pharmacists see when someone was getting too many painkiller prescriptions. The new laws made it very difficult for addicts to go from one doctor to another looking for more pills. And getting the pills on the street from drug dealers is very expensive.  That’s when the heroin problem started. Heroin was far easier to get and just a fraction of the cost of the pills.
  • In 2012, there were fewer than 100 arrests involving heroin. In 2013, the number doubled.
  • By the end of 2013, the number of heroin overdose deaths in Staten Island was the second highest in New York.
  • And the problem continues: In 2014, 500 Staten Island arrests involved heroin. In 2015, heroin arrests increased to 650 – that is 20 percent of all arrests, by the way, and again the highest in New York.

In an article on, the police blame parents. According to police chief Edward Delatorres, “the lack of willingness of parents to confront the problem and try to do something about it before it’s too late,” is the problem.

He might be right to a certain extent – kids are on drugs for an average of two years before their parents find out about it.

But look at what parents are up against.

Many of the kids’ peers are doing drugs or drinking and they’re inviting your son or daughter to do the same. Some are even pressuring them. And some are making it seem like not taking drugs or drinking is very uncool. The kids spend their entire day with these people, this is their life, this is their social scene. They want to be part of it, part of something, and this may be all they really see that there is to be part of.

And then there’s drug advertising. What about the medical profession’s and the insurance companies’ refusal to recommend and pay for a substantial amount of drug-free health treatment  – like acupuncture, chiropractic, herbs, etc. – to either relieve pain or get to the source of the pain and actually fix it? Or both.

What about the pharmaceutical industry’s very expensive and quite desperate attempts (advertising isn’t all they do – they also pay doctors to give out their drugs, for example) to get everyone taking drugs for something.  True, there are plenty of drugs that are necessary. But do we really need 125 different anti-depressants? Do we really need 572 different prescription painkillers? And to top it all off, some of those painkillers were only approved by the FDA for extreme, end-of-life type pain that has not been able to be relieved by any other drugs. Now, these drugs, like OxyContin, are being used for mild, temporary pain and even for depression and anxiety. Just check out the ads on TV and in magazines. Basically, if your life’s not perfect, there’s a drug (or many drugs) to help you.

What about finding other ways to cope with stress – the way we used to. Call a friend or family member and talk things out so you can make your life better without drugs?

And there are other factors.

However, parents CAN do something about it. Talking to your kids about drugs, educating them, not lecturing them, reduces their chances of taking drugs by 50 percent. Eating dinner with them at least five times a week also helps. As does generally being involved in your kids’ life. And encourage them to talk about the problems they’re running into in life and finding real solutions to them so they are not tempted to take the easy way out – take a drug that makes them forget about their problems.

If you need professional help, call us. We’ll find you the best help available for your situation.


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