Nassau police host Operation Natalie drug education seminar to combat opioid crisis
Nassau police hosted a drug education seminar Wednesday to help combat the growing opioid crisis on Long Island.
Operation Natalie is named after a Long Island native who died of an overdose. According to police, overdose deaths are up 30% on the Island and 108 people have died from an overdose in Nassau this year.
"Natalie did not die in vain," says Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder. "We took Natalie's name, and we keep pushing the message in her name to make sure that no child, no parent goes through what they went through."
Natalie's father along with the Nassau County executive, police commissioner, district attorney and other experts will be present during the seminar to speak about alcoholism and drug dependence.
"I guarantee you we are going to save some lives," says Ryder. "I guarantee you we are going to reduce overdoses this year. But we need help, we need to educate our community."
Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds, with the Family and Children's Association, says drug overdoses are up since the pandemic began. He says now it is more crucial than ever to open up the conversation about addiction.
"Helping people understand how to have those conversations to prevent substance use and to create a path to treatment for those who are struggling," says Reynolds.