Written by Joe Scotchie Friday, 09 April 2010 00:00
Since its founding last year, Drug Free Massapequa (DFM) has stayed busy and in the public eye. Its members secured a meeting with Nassau County Legislature’s Presiding Officer Peter J. Schmitt; plus it has hosted a highly successful fair at John J. Burns Park.
Now that organization has experienced a change in its leadership hierarchy. Recently, DFM announced that co-founder Vicky Honohan has resigned from both the board and the organization, effective Friday March 26. The board accepted and respected her wishes and called an emergency meeting of the remaining board members to form both a new Executive Board and an Advisory Board team to continue DFM’s mission.
The DFM’s new executive Board will be: Janice Talento, president; Sharon Sieczkowski, vice president; Gary Zaccaro, treasurer; and Tim Taylor, secretary.
The Advisory Board will consist of: Joe Pinto, Craig Garland, Joe Spinosa, Howard Rodriguez, Bob Moncini, Peter Puleio, Rachelle Gucker, Terri Kroll, Maria Pfirman, and Christine Sohmer.
“We are building a team of volunteers to run this organization successfully, each person brings to the table an area of expertise to complement the others,” a DFM statement read. “We are all looking forward to the upcoming events that are planned along with continuing our mission/vision while instilling in our community the Value and Beliefs behind this organization.”
In other DFM news, Janice Talento recently attended a meeting at Central Nassau Counseling Center, one dedicated to the problem of Underage Drinking on Long Island. While DFM was founded in response to the drug problem in the Massapequa area, it also is concerned with the general problem of substance abuse.
Lisa Kessler, director of the center, facilitated the meeting along with Gene Gallagher and Barbara Bartell, the center’s chief operating officer.
Ms. Talento came away from the meeting with the sobering statistics and how the center identifies the problem and what parents can do about underage drinking.
In addition to the deaths caused from alcohol, the problem costs the state over $3.5 billion in treatment costs for underage children.
The center identifies the most challenging and persisting problem for children today as “our culture” and “our lifestyles.” By that, the center means the culture that young people grow up in and lifestyle they see from their elders.
“Parents need to take responsibility for our children: Our own attitudes, behaviors and beliefs get instilled in our children and become defined,” Ms. Talento noted.
Central Nassau not only counsels the addict but also has support services for all the family members. The center identifies the many negative and destructive associated behaviors that stem from alcohol and drug use as: violence, underage sex, bad grades, and, in general, abuse.
The center also lists prevention measures to this vexing problem. Mostly, they center on protection for the parent and the child “on every level.” That includes asking more in-depth questions, “don’t be your child’s friend - be their parent,” privacy should be given only when earned, respect needs to be earned, and giving love unconditionally.
Parents also need to know their children’s friends and their friends’ parents. “Give your children trust — but watch them closely,” is a motto the center uses frequently.
In addition to the meeting with Legislator Schmitt and the fair and Burns Park, DFM members attended a hearing at Nassau County District Courts, one that denied Judicial Diversion to Dr. Sanji Francis, the Merrick-based physician accused of selling prescription drugs to undercover agents. A trial on this case is set for sometime this month. Before the hearing, DFM members spearheaded a petition drive, supporting the position of Ms. Corrigan, in her attempt to deny the defendant Judicial Diversion. By the time of the hearing, over 2,000 signatures had been attached to the petition.