A top Long Island politician urged President Biden to secure the southern border to prevent fentanyl from reaching the country as he introduced a new four-year, $60 million project aimed at saving lives.
As opioid overdoses wreak havoc on his community, Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman announced a four-year strategy to treat and prevent fentanyl-fueled addictions and deaths.
However, he claims that the strategy would be ineffective until Mexico and other countries tighten down on the supply of the potent drug.
“Nassau police do an excellent job. Our cops are out there. They’re making arrests. They’re doing what they have to do,” Blakeman, a Republican, said at an emotional press conference attended by the mom of an OD victim, as well as Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder.
“But fentanyl is flooding our communities and it’s coming in through our borders, it’s coming from overseas. And I’m calling on President Biden …. to protect our borders. Protect it from all the fentanyl that’s coming in. We’ve got to get serious about stopping it.”
Fentanyl, an opioid 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine, was found in 80% of drug overdose deaths in New York City in 2021, making it the most commonly involved chemical in fatal ODs for the fifth year in a row.
According to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over a 12-month period ending in July 2022, over 2,800 New Yorkers died of a drug overdose, with the great majority containing fentanyl.
In Nassau County, the medical examiner’s office reported 270 OD fatalities in 2021, with fentanyl accounting for 190 of them.
The numbers for 2022 are not yet complete, but the trend is similar, according to Blakeman.
Carole Trottere, a Long Island mother who lost her 30-year-old son Alex to a heroin-fentanyl overdose in 2018, urged parents at the Mineola news conference to get their heads out of the sand.
“I’m one of the thousands of parents on Long Island. If you do the math, with the stats of how many people have died of fentanyl poisonings, just multiply that by how many parents and other loved ones and families are affected,” Trottere said.
“I’d like to plead to the parents out there and say you can’t be in denial about this crisis. I’m sure you have good kids and I can just imagine parents saying, ‘My kid’s a good kid, I don’t have to worry about them. My son’s head of the lacrosse team. My daughter’s headed to medical school next year.’”
She continued, “These counterfeit pills, they can kill you in one night. You could be at a party and someone says, ‘Here, try this pill,’ and you’re not going to wake up the next morning.
“So if I have to plead to parents — your kids are good kids, but don’t take a chance.”