Bellmore, NY - March 21st, 2014 - While heroin use on Long Island is being reported at epidemic levels, especially among adolescents and young adults, Long Island Crisis Center’s 24 hours-a-day/7 days-a-week hotlines are responding to users caught in the tailspin of this ravaging disease and families who are at a loss as to how to deal with it.
“We are currently seeing a 33% increase in calls related to heroin use,” reports Theresa Buhse, Associate Executive Director of Long Island Crisis Center. “I believe that one of the reasons our services are being sought is because people can call anonymously (there is no caller ID). There is such stigma and shame associated with the disease of drug addiction that many are hesitant and afraid to ask for help. Added to this is the fact that the system to treatment and recovery is often hard to navigate. People just don’t know where to begin. Our counselors are able to guide individuals on a path. Serving as the entry point to recovery, counselors provide encouragement, resources and referrals to treatment programs and alternatives, and a concrete course of action. We are also there for the families. Parents are shocked by this seemingly new phenomenon of heroin usage and are absolutely at a loss when it comes to dealing with it.”
Once stereotyped as mostly an urban phenomenon with users living on the streets, today’s heroin user crosses all economic, religious, ethnic and racial lines. And, with the government cracking down on prescription painkillers (which had become a drug of choice for young people), the easy accessibility to heroin on Long Island and its low cost has made its popularity spiral.
“One of the most important things we need to do is de-stigmatize the whole issue of drug use and call it what it is – a disease. Then we need to help people get treatment for this disease and bring families along in this process so they can be supportive and strong,” states Linda Leonard, Executive Director of the Crisis Center. “Our hope is that with our anonymous, confidential and free counseling services, we can encourage everyone to begin this process of healing.”
To Reach Long Island Crisis Center
Call 24/7: 516-679-1111
Chat online: www.licconline.org
Text: “LICC” to 839863
Walk-In: 2740 Martin Avenue, 2nd Floor, Bellmore, NY