Archive for the tag 'drugs'

Dynamic's Brooklyn facility at 1830 Coney Island Avenue. (Source: DYCInc.org)

Dynamic’s Brooklyn facility at 1830 Coney Island Avenue. (Source: DYCInc.org)

The associate director of a Midwood-based drug rehabilitation and counseling center said she was among the first to sound the alarm about an impending spike in heroin abuse in the community, and now the group is turning to the radio to bring it to an end.

Karen Carlini, associate director of Dynamic Youth Community at 1830 Coney Island Avenue, told PIX11 that she knew there was a crisis on the horizon and was warning parents, community leaders and law enforcement more than a decade ago.

“We saw it happening every year,” Carlini told the outlet. “And we tried to tell people what we saw happening.”

Carlini, who has worked in the substance abuse field for 40 years, said she realized what was coming when she saw the nature of abuse change in the 1990s. While, nationally, heroin abuse cases were declining, she saw a rise in opiate painkiller abuse – pills with similar properties to that of heroin.

New painkillers, like Vicadin and Oxycontin, were liberally doled out to patients in the 1990s. Prescribed for cases ranging from a pulled tooth to severe cancers and injuries, leftover pills found their way into home medical cabinets. That gave easy access to teens, and the highly addictive drugs made an impression.

The state has spent the past decade tackling the problem, and a slew of legislative reforms over the past few years have cracked down on abuse. Addicted teens turned to heroin, an increasingly cheaper alternative.

Dynamic, which operates an intensive, in-patient rehab facility in Fallsburg, New York, called Dynamite Youth Facility, now works closely with community leaders to help meet the problem head on – including with local Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, chairman of the Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Committee.

The pol launched a partnership with Dynamic this summer, as well as with the Kings Bay Y, to tackle the issue with an emphasis on the Russian-speaking community. They’ve established a regular segment on Russian-language DaNU Radio to reach out, saying that there are limited options for the Russian community because of language barriers and stigma.

“Many families don’t recognize the signs of addiction, are unaware of the help that’s out there, or are reluctant to address their child’s addiction because of feelings of shame,” said Cymbrowitz in a press release announcing the initiative. “We need to break this deadly cycle of addiction – and the only way to do that is by pooling our expertise and resources and working together.”

The following is a message from the offices of Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz:

Photo by Erica Sherman

Photo by Erica Sherman

In an effort to provide a safer alternative for prescription drug disposal, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are sponsoring the Eighth National Prescription Drugs Take-Back Initiative, this Saturday, April 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The drug take-back event will be held at the 61st Police Precinct, 2758 Coney Island Avenue between Avenue W and Gravesend Neck Road, where Brooklyn families are encouraged to safely dispose of their unused or expired prescription drugs, so they don’t end up in the wrong hands.

Unused prescription drugs, if left in households or disposed of improperly, can pose serious health and public safety risks. Over the past decade, prescription drug abuse has seen a dramatic increase. Studies show that nearly 1.9 million people in the U.S. meet abuse or dependence criteria for prescription drugs. And since prescription drugs are sold legally, they often fall into the wrong hands.

By safely disposing prescription drugs, we can also help preserve our environment. Many people believe that flushing unused medications down the toilet or drain is actually the responsible thing to do. Unfortunately, since many water treatment facilities are not equipped to properly filter prescription drugs from waste water, drugs often end up in our lakes and rivers.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) found low levels of antibiotics, hormones, contraceptives and steroids in 80 percent of the rivers and streams tested. The presence of such drugs in our water negatively affects fish and wildlife, and concerns have been raised that drug-resistant bacteria may develop because of long-term exposure to low levels of antibiotics. These problems can be easily avoided by proper disposal of unused prescriptions.

For more information about the National Prescription Drugs Take-Back Initiative, visit DEA.gov or call (800) 882-9539.

If you have questions or concerns about this or any other matter, please contact my office at (718) 743-4078. My office is located at 1800 Sheepshead Bay Road (between Emmons Avenue and Shore Parkway). We’re open Monday throughThursday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Fridays until 5 p.m. Of course, you may always email me at cymbros@assembly.state.ny.us.

During the meeting, Marty Golden used a microphone similar to the one in this picture. Photo by Erica Sherman

State Senator Marty Golden covered a range of issues from heroin to flood insurance at a well-attended meeting of the Manhattan Beach Community Group meeting last night.

Here’s the cliff notes to Golden’s appearance:

  • He talked about the high concentration of senior citizens in Brooklyn, especially in the south, and said that this population needed to be respected and not forced out of the borough by increases in taxes.
  • The heroin problem in New York City has reached an all time high, Golden said. The problem is especially acute in Brooklyn, where many children are dying of overdoses. And he blamed lawmakers going easy on drug dealers when they repealed much of the Rockefeller Drug Laws of the 1970s several years ago. Since then, much of the Rockefeller Drug Laws have returned, a point Golden is proud of. “Drug dealers are the bad guys and I want to get them off the streets,” he said.
  • On the point of legalizing weed, Golden said he was against it. “If anyone thinks marijuana isn’t a gateway drug, they’re fooling themselves,” Golden said.
  • When it comes to the “nightmare” of Manhattan Beach residents, Golden wants to build up infrastructure in the area to prevent future flooding. He discussed the possibility of things like flood gates and retainer walls.
  • While on the topic of Superstorm Sandy, Golden is trying to prevent flood insurance from going up for those in flood zones.
  • He also addressed the big news this week about the possibility of a national competition and the New York and New Jersey area losing $1 billion in disaster aid. “We’re all going to stand together to make sure that this money stays here,” he said.

Source: Doug88888/Flickr

The following is a press release from the offices of Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz:

Despite the sharp rise in heroin abuse and the continuing scourge of prescription painkiller addiction among a broad demographic, New York State is not properly equipped to address the opiate addiction crisis, says Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn), Chair of the Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Committee.

Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said the budget for the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) has remained “flat” for several years and, remarkably, there is no funding directly related to opiate abuse in the 2014-1015 executive budget. “Although there is reinvestment in this budget, there are little details how it will be distributed or what kind of services it will provide,” he said.

While New York State has made major strides in the battle against prescription drug abuse, a shift from prescription opioid to heroin abuse has resulted in a rise of treatment admissions across the state, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said. The Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse is asking for $5 million to expand access to and capacity for treatment of opiate abuse, another $5 million to expand school-based prevention programs, and $5 million to expand community-based detoxification services.

A bill sponsored by Assemblyman Cymbrowitz (A.8591) would establish the Community Chemical Dependency Services Expansion Program, which would take advantage of savings that the state realizes as behavioral health services transition into managed care and the utilization of medically managed detoxification services declines. The program would distribute these funds to community based providers.

Assemblyman Cymbrowitz also co-sponsored legislation (A.8637) to increase the availability of Naloxone, sometimes referred to as the drug overdose antidote. When administered in a timely fashion, Naloxone counteracts the life threatening depression of the central nervous system and respiratory system caused by an opioid or heroin overdose.

In 2005, the state authorized non-medical persons to administer Naloxone to an individual in order to prevent an opioid or heroin overdose from becoming fatal. Currently, parents and family members of addicts are being turned away from Naloxone training programs or are attending the programs and not receiving Naloxone due to the shortage of prescribers participating in such programs. “Due to the increase of opioid abuse, expanded access to Naloxone has become necessary priority to save lives,” Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said.

In Nassau County, EMTs administer Naloxone through their police department’s ambulance services and in Suffolk County the state provided first responders with Naloxone. “Expanding upon the success of existing programs, more lives could be saved if Naloxone were available to addicts, their families and other people likely to be in a position to assist a person at risk of an opioid related overdose,” he said.

“Under this legislation, one prescriber would be able to issue a non-patient specific order to numerous programs, allowing for increased access. This legislation will give the person who is likely to discover an overdose victim the ability to save their life, a life that could otherwise be lost if the victim has to wait for the EMT to arrive,” Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said.

In testimony by the NYS Association of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers during a recent budget hearing in Albany, executive director John Coppola noted that overdose deaths related to prescription painkillers increased 233% between 2000 and 2012, while heroin-related overdose deaths also increased 84% between 2010 and 2012 in NYC after four years on the decline, according to a NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene report.

“The number of overdose deaths in New York State now exceeds motor vehicle related deaths. This staggering loss of life demands bold leadership and action from New York’s elected officials,” Coppola said.

The 2012-2013 State Fiscal Year Enacted Budget established the prescription pain medication awareness program. Another major initiative to help New York protect its citizens from the consequences of prescription drug abuse is the Internet System for Tracking Overprescribing Act, known as I-STOP, enacted in 2012. “This seminal legislation tracks controlled substance prescribing, prevents doctor shopping and weeds out unscrupulous doctors. One unfortunate side effect of successfully restricting street access to these controlled substances is that addicts are turning to other drugs, such as heroin,” Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said.

“Without treatment readily available, the public health costs will be severe for New York State — and the human toll even more so,” he said.

Linsalato (NYPD Handout)

Linsalato (Police handout)

It’s probably time to quit being a doting mom when your little boy is in prison. Or, at least, don’t bring him illegal substances while he’s there.

That’s what Sheepshead Bay resident Yelena Linsalato is accused of. According to authorities, Linsalato has been charged with a felony and a misdemeanor after she attempted to smuggle drugs and money to her son at the Fishkill Correctional Facility.

The New York Post reports:

Yelena Linsalato, 43, of Avenue Z in Sheepshead Bay was visiting her son Alexander Krasnikov, 23, at the Fishkill Correctional Facility about 7:30 p.m. Saturday when a corrections officer spotted her passing cash and a “controlled substance” to the inmate, Inspector Benjamin Walsh told The Post Monday.

She was charged with first-degree promoting prison contraband, a felony, and possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor.

“It was accident,” Linsalato insisted when reached by phone at her home. “I don’t want to talk to you.”

The substance is being tested to verify that it is a narcotic, and authorities will not identify it to the public until the results are returned.

Krasnikov is serving six years for first-degree robbery and burglary charges. Linsalato is due in court today.

Source: Humans of New York via Facebook

Source: Humans of New York via Facebook

The Facebook account associated with the incredibly popular Humans of New York photoblog ran the above photo on Tuesday, with the subject quoted as saying he participates in an “underground fighting league in Coney Island” run by “the Russians.”

Here’s the full caption:

“The Russians run an underground fighting league in Coney Island where they pay junkies to fight. I fought about fifty fights for them. They pay you $200 win or lose. They’d always make sure I was real doped up before the fight. I mean they weren’t good people but it did make me feel kinda important to have all those gangsters cheering for me. And they’d always be really happy if I won, because that meant I’d made them money.”

The post received quite a bit of attention from our Facebook readers, but no one seems particularly confident the story is true. One reader writes that the fighting league’s existence would be unlikely to stay so secret in the otherwise gossipy Russian community.

“There would be rumors. In all my years in this community I have never heard anything remote to this,” the reader wrote.

Can anyone back this up?

Sorin (Source: NYPD handout via Gothamist)

Sorin (Source: NYPD handout via Gothamist)

An observant Jewish drug dealer from Sheepshead Bay was sentenced to up to five years on Tuesday for weapons and drugs possession. Last year we reported that a group of drug dealers had been arrested in April 2013 during a raid, including the man who received the five-year sentence, Edward Sorin.

After a six-month investigation that led up to the raid, cops found 23,000 oxycodone pills valued at $460,000 and a sawed-off shotgun in the group’s headquarters on Bedford Avenue.

Sawed-off shotguns and pills are the kinds of things you would expect from a drug bust but, according to legal documents, this story had an extra novelty feature. Back in September we wrote:

According to court documents, these guys allegedly sent out mass text messages to their client base informing them that they would not be available to sell drugs after sundown on Friday or before sundown on Saturday.

“We are closing 7:30 on the dot and we will reopen saturday 8:15 so if u need anything you have 45mins to get what you want,” read one text message sent out this past April.

The other members of the group are awaiting trial at the moment. They include, Jack Zibak, Jack Zaibak, David Gerowitz and Philip Mandel, all of Brooklyn, authorities told the New York Post.

Source: Thomas Good via Wikimedia Commons

State Senator Diane Savino (Source: Thomas Good via Wikimedia Commons)

State Senator Diane Savino, who represents parts of Coney Island, Gravesend, Brighton Beach and Bensonhurst, thinks highly of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to get groovy with medical marijuana.

News came of Cuomo’s change of heart – he previously said “absolutely not” to medical marijuana advocates as recently as a year ago – on Saturday, when the New York Times reported the governor would announce an executive action allowing limited use of marijuana by those with serious illnesses.

The action is a much more modest step than other states that permit medical marijuana, limiting distribution to just 20 hospitals across a state of 19.5 million people. Prescriptions will only be given to patients with cancer, glaucoma and other diseases determined by the state Department of Health. The program is expected to be formally announced on Wednesday during Cuomo’s State of the State address.

For Savino, who has long been a proponent of medical marijuana and has repeatedly offered up legislation authorizing its distribution (to no avail), it’s a win for seriously ill patients.

“The most important thing is that it’s an acknowledgement that the benefits outweigh the risks,” told the Staten Island Advance. “Compared to where we were last year, when Cuomo said absolutely not, I’m very pleased … It’s a great first step.”

Details about the policy and program are still vague, and Savino hopes to work alongside Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, who sponsored the medical marijuana bill in the Assembly, to flesh out details with the Cuomo administration.

Savino’s bill stalled in the Senate year after year due to Republican opposition. It passed the Assembly four times, and 82 percent of New York voters approve of medical marijuana. Cuomo’s action side steps the legislature altogether.

Source: Thomas Good via Wikimedia Commons

Back in June we covered State Senator Diane Savino’s effort - and the Senate’s failure – to legalize medical marijuana. At the time, she blamed the political system for stifling an issue that the public supported. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Governor Andrew Cuomo were blamed for killing any political support for medical marijuana.

The New York State Assembly passed medical marijuana laws in the past, but the measures never pass the Senate when it was Republican led. Savino, a member of the Independent Democratic Caucus that currently shares power with the Republicans, was optimistic when it was introduced last year. It still didn’t make it to the floor, but Savino wasn’t discouraged.

To help move the effort forward, she’s working with advocacy organizations like the Drug Policy Alliance and their director Julie Netherland.

She’s also teamed up with Manhattan’s Assemblyman Richard N. Gottfried. The Star-Gazette reported this morning that Gottfried held a hearing last Wednesday on Long Island to drum up support as Savino prepares to reintroduce legislation for medical marijuana.

“New York is a progressive state on a lot of issues, but drug policy is not one of them,” Savino told the paper. “We have some of the most draconian laws in the country.”

Scene of the explosion

Scene of the explosion (Source: Google Maps)

The explosion that rocked a Marine Park block yesterday was caused by two teenagers’ attempts to make marijuana hash, the Daily News reports.

The duo, a 19-year-old man and a 17-year-old high school student, were critically injured in the early morning blast and were taken to Staten Island Hospital, where they were in stable but serious condition.

The incident happened at approximately 2:30 a.m. on Marine Parkway near Quentin Road. Cops told the Daily News that the two were attempting to make marijuana hash by dousing it with butane gas and allowing it evaporate. One of the teens lit a cigarette, causing the gas vapors to ignite.

The 17-year-old girl is a student at Rachel Carson High School in Brighton Beach.

According to the paper, cops found a “large amount” of marijuana, including plants. They had filled a 30-gallon tub with pot and covered it in butane.

Criminal charges are pending.

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