For the past several months, the papers have published numerous articles related to the heroin problem that has affected our community. The most recent articles focus on the recent passing of legislation that will result in school notification and community awareness. While I applaud our county legislature for its willingness to address this growing problem, we would be remiss if we failed to acknowledge what lies below the surface.

We are living in a time where our young, and even our not so young, are faced with demands and pressures that they have never experienced before. When that is coupled with profound budget cuts and dwindling resources, it makes sense that children and countless other adults will die as the direct and, perhaps, not so direct effects of addiction. If we continue to ignore the realities of the issues that our children and their families are forced to deal with on a daily basis, we will surely lose this battle. If we are to respond to the problems of addiction, then we must, as the saying goes, "put our money where our mouths are." We must fund programs that prevent, educate and treat people in our community.

We are fortunate to be able to provide some assistance. Through the Nassau Alliance for Addiction Service (NAFAS) and YES Community Counseling Center, community members in Nassau can get help. That said, we all have a responsibility to demand from our elected officials that they continue to make funding available to all in need, in spite of the troubling economic times. If we expect less, it is only a matter of time before the names and pictures of other beautiful children become front page articles. Don't our children deserve better?

Jamie E. Bogenshutz, LCSW, R, CASAC

Executive Director,

YES Counseling Center;

President, NAFAS

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