NYT Report: Staten Island Faces Heroin Epidemic

Monday, 05 May 2014 04:16 PM

By Lisa Degnen

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Staten Island has seen a staggering increase in heroin overdoses in the last 10 years, the highest in New York City's five boroughs. And the amount of heroin seized by police has also gone up by a shocking 300 percent.

According to a report in The New York Times, 36 people died of heroin overdoses in 2012, and the number is steadily increasing. In the first four months of the year, police confiscated over 2,000 bags of heroin — 800 more from the year before. Last month, police and emergency medical workers even started carrying Naloxone, a drug that helps counteract heroin overdoses.

"You’ve got kids falling apart. You’ve got families falling apart," William A. Fusco, the director of Dynamic Youth Community, a drug treatment center in Brooklyn told The Times. "You’ve got people who have got no idea what to do, and they’re all saying the same thing: This was a good kid. This was a good kid."

For many years, heroin was considered a plague in the city's poorest neighborhoods, but now, according to the report, it has become a prevalent in working, blue-collar communities, including many that are situated in Staten Island. It is usually cheap to buy, at only about $5 to $10 per glassine dose, and is supplied by dealers in other parts of New York or New Jersey.

The report says that many Staten Island families send their kids to Brooklyn for treatment because they are ashamed and want to keep the problem as quiet as possible, adding to scourge.

"I wanted people to know that I wasn’t ashamed of him," says Candace Crupi, whose 21-year-old son Jonathan died of an overdose. "People are so ashamed of addiction. There’s such a stigma, and it’s just not right."

Heroin use has doubled in the suburbs, ABC News reported. One government study shows 620,000 people admitted to using heroin in 2011, twice the number of people who said they used it in 2003. Affluent Bergen County, N.J., outside New York City for example, reported 28 heroin overdoses last year.

"Every part of Bergen County is touched in some way, shape or form by the heroin epidemic," said Lt. Thomas Dombroski of the county Prosecutor's Office.

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