Written by Senator Kemp Hannon Friday, 29 January 2010 00:00
Senator Kemp Hannon called upon members of Congress to forgo their decision to eliminate more than $1.5 million in federal aid aimed at creating safe, drug-free schools across Long Island.
“It’s completely unacceptable to be making cuts of this magnitude to our schools’ drug prevention programs at this point in time,” said Senator Hannon. “Statistics reflect a sharp increase in drug related arrests on Long Island, specifically heroin-related incidences. It is a certainty that these cuts will have a devastating impact upon our community,” Hannon continued.
This devastating decision was enacted despite a staggering increase in the number of heroin-related arrests and overdoses among Long Islanders.
“The Uniondale School District is happy to join with Senator Kemp Hannon in advocating that these cuts be restored. In these tough economic times, we are constantly asked to do less with more,” said William K. Lloyd, Ph.D., superintendent of the Uniondale Union Free School District. “And although we consistently rise to the occasion, cuts like these pull the rug out from under us. Drug and alcohol abuse is a serious issue on Long Island, and when it comes to the safety and well-being of our young people, it is one that cannot be taken lightly.”
New York state is projected to lose a total of $18.5 million in prevention program funding. From 2005 to 2008, arrests on heroin-related charges in Nassau County increased by 91 percent. According to Detective Vincent Garcia, Public Information Officer for the Nassau County Police Department, there were 387 heroin arrests in 2009 alone.
“Those individuals who made the decision to cut this federal aid should come into my neighborhood and speak with the parents whose lives have been changed forever because they lost their children due to a drug related incident,” said Jamie Bogenshutz, executive director of YES Community Counseling Center. “Then maybe they will have a better understanding of the importance of this funding.”