Lawmakers demand action after shocking report on heroin overdoses

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NY Lawmaker Calls for Action After Shocking Report on Heroin Overdoses

BRENTWOOD, N.Y. — A new report found that more people are dying in Suffolk County from heroin overdoses than any other county in New York State.

Now some lawmakers are demanding action to get help to stop the epidemic.

One solution may be found at The Pilgrim State Psychiatric Center in Brentwood. It was once the largest hospital in the world.

But now this 400 acre facility is under utilized.

State Assemblyman Andrew Raia says it is the perfect place to start combating the heroin epidemic.

"This is an emergency," said Raia. "We need to open up those beds as quickly as possible."

More than 300 people died in Suffolk County from heroin overdoses in a 60 month period from 2009 to 2013.

RELATED: Heroin proves a formidable foe in suburban Ohio county

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NTP: Heroin proves a formidable foe in suburban Ohio county
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Lawmakers demand action after shocking report on heroin overdoses
In this Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, photo, used heroin syringes are stored in a water bottle as Steve Monnin cleans a wooded area in Combs Park, in Hamilton, Ohio. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called heroin use a national epidemic and it is hitting hard in southern Ohio. The CDC says heroin-related deaths nationally nearly quadrupled in a decade; and in Ohio's Butler County, they have nearly quadrupled in just the past three years. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
In this Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015, photo, Dorothy McIntosh Shuemake, mother of Alison Shuemake who died of a suspected heroin overdose, cries as she clutches her daughter's toy stuffed rabbit during an interview at her home, in Middletown, Ohio. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called heroin use a national epidemic and it is hitting hard in southern Ohio. The CDC says heroin-related deaths nationally nearly quadrupled in a decade; and in Ohio's Butler County, they have nearly quadrupled in just the past three years. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
In this Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, photo, used heroin syringes and cooking spoons are found hidden at the base of trees as Steve Monnin cleans a wooded area of Combs Park in Hamilton, Ohio. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called a heroin use a national epidemic and it is hitting hard in southern Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
In this Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, photo, Steve Monnin searches through the thick brush of a wooded area frequented by heroin users as he cleans Combs Park in Hamilton, Ohio. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called heroin use a national epidemic and it is hitting hard in southern Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
In this Friday, Sept. 18, 2015, photo, Melissa Smith-Procter is interviewed in the kitchen area of her workplace at Sojourner Recovery Services in Hamilton, Ohio. Smith-Procter said sheâs had two ex-boyfriends, several other friends and two women she was in treatment with die from heroin. She recently celebrated 20 months of sobriety after more than two decades of abusing drugs and alcohol. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
In this Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015, photo, Dorothy McIntosh Shuemake and Fred Shuemake, parents of Alison Shuemake who died of a suspected heroin overdose, browse a picture collage of their daughter at their home, in Middletown, Ohio. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called heroin use a national epidemic and it is hitting hard in southern Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
In this Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015, photo, Dorothy McIntosh Shuemake, mother of Alison Shuemake who died of a suspected heroin overdose, looks at pictures of her daughter during an interview at her home, in Middletown, Ohio. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called heroin use a national epidemic and it is hitting hard in southern Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
In this Friday, Sept. 18, 2015, photo, Melissa Smith-Procter wipes tears from her eyes as she speaks about the trust her employers show her as she was interviewed in the kitchen area of her workplace at Sojourner Recovery Services in Hamilton, Ohio. Smith-Procter said sheâs had two ex-boyfriends, several other friends and two women she was in treatment with die from heroin. She recently celebrated 20 months of sobriety after more than two decades of abusing drugs and alcohol. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
In this Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015, photo, Butler County Coroner Dr. Lisa Mannix is interviewed at her office in West Chester Township, Ohio. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called heroin use a national epidemic and it is hitting hard in southern Ohio. Mannix recently investigated three overdose deaths within a few hours. She says getting results is âa big, big ship to turn around.â (AP Photo/Dan Sewell)
In this Friday, Sept. 18, 2015, photo, Melissa Smith-Procter is interviewed in the kitchen area of her workplace at Sojourner Recovery Services in Hamilton, Ohio. Smith-Procter said sheâs had two ex-boyfriends, several other friends and two women she was in treatment with die from heroin. She recently celebrated 20 months of sobriety after more than two decades of abusing drugs and alcohol. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
In this Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, photo, Steve Monnin, 57, places a heroin syringe in a water bottle as he cleans Combs Park in Hamilton, Ohio. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called heroin use a national epidemic and it is hitting hard in southern Ohio. The CDC says heroin-related deaths nationally nearly quadrupled in a decade; and in Butler County, they have nearly quadrupled in just the past three years. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
In this Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, photo, a loaded heroin syringe is found in the underbrush of a wooded area in Combs Park in Hamilton, Ohio. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called heroin use a national epidemic and it is hitting hard in southern Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
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Raia says out-patient facilities are over flowing in Suffolk County.

He says inpatient treatment is more effective and the state has the space at Pilgrim State to start winning the war against heroin abuse.

"We have the resources and facilities there now" said Raia adding " the state needs to step up."

Suffolk County had more overdose fatalities than the the Bronx and Brooklyn combined in the time period studied in the state report.

Legislator William Spencer who is also a practicing doctor says a lot of people became addicted to heroin after becoming addicted to prescription opiates.

"When these medications were marketed in the late 90s they were introduced as alternative for pain management that was not addictive, and that was just not true," said Spencer.

He says the prescription drug companies helped create the heroin epidemic and now they need to help in the treatment of patients and the campaign to stop the surge of heroin.

While Spencer says we're "struggling in government," he says the drug makers are not.

"The pharmaceutical companies have profited greatly," he said.

Raia hopes to pass legislation in Albany by June.

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